Vice President Mike Pence declared an end to what he called a policy of “strategic patience” on North Korea during a surprise visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on his trip to South Korea.
“The era of strategic patience is over, ”Pence said. “President Trump has made it clear that the patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out and we want to see change.
“We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path of the development of nuclear weapons, and also its continual use and testing of ballistic missiles is unacceptable.”
Pence landed via helicopter at Camp Bonifas, about a mile from the southern boundary of the zone.
He received a security briefing from Gen. Vincent Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, and then visited the Freedom House observation post in the Korean DMZ.
Pence stopped in South Korea while touring the Asia-Pacific region for the first time since taking office.
His visit comes just a day after North Korea’s failed missile launch, and one month since Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to the DMZ, where he was notably photographed by a North Korean soldier standing on the other side of an observation post.
Briefly addressing reporters in Camp Bonifas, Pence praised the “unshakeable bond” between the U.S. and Korean people.
“My father served in the Korean War with the U.S. Army, and on the way here, we actually saw some of the terrain my father fought alongside Korean forces to help earn your freedom,” Pence said.
“It’s a great honor to be with all of our forces.”