Vice President Mike Pence made an unexpected and impromptu visit to Camp Bonifas, a joint U.S. and South Korean base located along the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea on Monday.
North Korea, a perennial agent of unrest, attempted to show their strength Sunday with an unsuccessful missile test.
“This morning’s provocation from the North is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face each and every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of America in this part of the world,” Pence said during an Easter dinner shared with soldiers on Sunday.
On Monday, turning his attention to the north, he warned South Korea’s counterpart not to test “the strength of our military forces.”
Speaking in Seoul, the vice president said, “We will defeat any attack and we will meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective response.”
“[A]ll options are on the table,” Pence added.
Trump’s administration has shifted its attention toward North Korea in the past week.
Over the weekend, the president stated that he is working “on the North Korea problem.”
Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster stated that the president’s recent decision to order missile strikes against Bashar al-Assad in Syria shows that he is “clearly comfortable making tough decisions.”
But regarding North Korea, McMaster preached caution, saying “It’s time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully.”
Pence’s stop in Korea is the first on his 10-day trip throughout Asia.
While tensions are flaring with North Korea, they have recently cooled with China.
Trump hosted President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. Last Tuesday, he announced that he had leveraged a trade agreement in exchange for diplomacy.
“I explained to the president of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korea problem,” Trump tweeted.
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