PANMUNJOM, South Korea – The Latest on Vice President Mike Pence's Asian tour (all times local):
Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S. commitment to South Korea is "iron-clad and immutable" in the face of North Korea's work to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile program.
Pence is noting in a statement alongside South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn that President Donald Trump recently launched airstrikes in Syria. Pence says, "North Korea would do well not to test his resolve."
The vice president reiterated Monday that "all options are on the table" to deal with the threat posed by North Korea. He says any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea will be met with "an overwhelming and effective response."
Viewing his adversaries in the distance, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence traveled to the tense zone dividing North and South Korea and warned Pyongyang that after years of testing the U.S. and South Korea with its nuclear ambitions, "the era of strategic patience is over."
Pence made an unannounced visit to the Demilitarized Zone at the start of his 10-day trip to Asia in a U.S. show of force that allowed the vice president to gaze at North Korean soldiers from afar and stare directly across a border marked by razor wire. As the brown bomber jacket-clad vice president was briefed near the military demarcation line, two North Korean soldiers watched from a short distance away, one taking multiple photographs of the American visitor.
Pence told reporters near the DMZ that President Donald Trump was hopeful that China would use its "extraordinary levers" to pressure the North to abandon its weapons program, a day after the North's failed missile launch. But Pence expressed impatience with the unwillingness of the regime to move toward ridding itself of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
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