Viewing his adversaries in the distance, Mike Pence traveled to the tense zone dividing North and South Korea on Monday and warned Pyongyang that after years of testing the US 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, the AP reports. As the vice president was briefed near the military demarcation line, two North Korean soldiers watched from a short distance away. Pence told reporters that President 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.
"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," Pence said. "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." Later Monday, Pence said in a joint statement alongside South Korean acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn that the United States' commitment to its ally is "iron-clad and immutable." (National Security Adviser HR McMaster said Sunday that the US is developing a "range of options" to deal with North Korea's threat to use nuclear weapons.)