During his first official trip to the Asia-Pacific region, Vice President Mike Pence visited South Korea, also known as the Republic of Korea (ROK), on April 16-18. During his visit, the Vice President participated in a bilateral meeting with Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn and met with National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun. While on his trip, Vice President Pence focused on issues impacting the U.S.-South Korean relationship, including economic affairs and security on the Korean Peninsula.
Following his meeting with Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn, the Vice President emphasized the unwavering support of the United States for our longstanding alliance with the ROK. The Vice President also addressed the region’s most urgent threat to peace and security -- the regime in North Korea, also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Vice President stated, “For more than two decades, the United States and our allies have worked to peacefully dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program and alleviate the suffering of their people. But at every step of the way, North Korea answered our overtures with willful deception, broken promises, and nuclear and missile tests. Over the past 18 months, North Korea has conducted two unlawful nuclear tests and an unprecedented number of ballistic missile tests, even conducting a failed missile launch as I traveled here for this visit. The era of strategic patience is over.”
Vice President Pence called on other regional powers and the entire international community to join the United States to demand that DPRK abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, turn away from renewed hostility towards its neighbors, and end the repression of its own people. He mentioned the United States’ recent United States engagements with China, in particular, during which Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and to increase cooperation to convince the DPRK to abandon its illicit weapons programs.
“It is heartening to see China commit to these actions. But the United States is troubled by China’s economic retaliation against South Korea for taking appropriate steps to defend itself. The better path would be for China to address the North Korean threat that is actually making such defensive measures necessary. Now while issues like that remain, the President and I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea, but as President Trump made clear just a few short days ago, if China is unable to deal with North Korea, the United States, and our allies, will,” the Vice President said while he was in Seoul.
Vice President Pence reaffirmed, “The alliance between South Korea and the United States is the linchpin of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and indeed throughout the Asia Pacific. The United States’ commitment to South Korea is ironclad and immutable. And under President Trump’s leadership, I know our alliance will even be stronger, our nations will be safer, and the Asia Pacific will be more secure.”
Upon the conclusion to his visit in Seoul, the Vice President will visit Japan, Indonesia, Australia, and Hawaii to emphasize President Trump’s continued commitment to U.S. alliances and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region, highlight the Administration’s economic agenda, and underscore America’s unwavering support for our troops at home and abroad.
Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.
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