In a swing through Asia, Vice President Mike Pence issued some of his sharpest words yet to North Korea, warning the reclusive Communist nation that any use of conventional or nuclear weapons would no longer be tolerated by the United States.
“The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready,” Pence said, speaking in Japan aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, the Associated Press reported. “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”
Since taking office, the Trump administration has taken a much tougher line on North Korea. In previous comments, Pence waned that the “era of strategic patience is over.”
Tensions reached a boiling point over the weekend as North Korea celebrated the 105th birthday of their founding leader Kim il-Sung. The event is often used as an opportunity to test new weaponry. A missile launch in the country failed and exploded over the weekend, likely as a result of a concerted U.S. cyber-hacking campaign.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the test reckless. Many have speculated that North Korea is gearing up to conduct a sixth nuclear test; it remains unclear exactly how the Trump administration would respond.
[image via screengrab]
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