UPDATE — 4/19, 10:21 a.m. EDT: Addressing 2,500 Navy sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan in Tokyo Bay, Japan, Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence issued another stern warning to North Korea.
“The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready,” Pence declared.
“Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response,” he continued.
Pence also vowed the U.S. will work to maintain open shipping lanes in the South China Sea, where China’s military has increased its presence in recent years.
Amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula in which a North Korean missile test failed over the weekend, tough talk from all players in the region followed, with threats from Pyongyang it would regularly test missiles and Russia entering with a stern warning to the U.S. not to engage in military action against the North.
One day following Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to South Korea, in which he toured the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea and said the “era of strategic patience” is at an end, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said such talk contributes little to resolving the crisis and is a “very risky course.”
Lavrov stated: “I hope that there won’t be any unilateral actions like we recently saw in Syria and that the US will follow the policies Trump repeatedly declared during his election campaign.”
One day later, after arriving in Tokyo for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Pence sought to reassure Abe that President Trump’s strategy to halt Pyongyang’s belligerence employs economic and diplomatic pressure.
“It is our belief by bringing together the family of nations with diplomatic and economic pressure we have a chance of achieving a freeze on the Korean Peninsula,” Pence said.
Amid diplomatic maneuvering among Russian, South Korean and U.S. officials, North Korea, again, threatened the U.S. with nuclear annihilation on Monday. In an interview with BBC News, Vice-Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol said President Trump seemed “hell-bent on igniting war with Pyongyang and said that North Korea would be “conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.”
Han’s comments came before it was reported the U.S. was weighing shooting down of future missiles North Korea tests. Although the option has not been adopted as official policy, Defense Secretary James Mattis has reportedly told Congress it is under consideration.
[RT News] [AP] [BBC News] [The Sun] [Mirror] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy STR/Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images via CNN]