Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday again threatened North Korea, saying that America’s “sword stands ready” if the rogue regime were to use conventional or nuclear weapons.
Pence, dressed in a green military jacket, said aboard the hulking U.S.S. Ronald Reagan that President Trump’s administration would continue to “work diligently” with allies like Japan and China to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang.
But if that failed, he warned the U.S. was prepared to go further.
“The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready,” Pence told 2,500 sailors wearing blue fatigues and Naval baseball caps on a sunny, windy morning aboard the carrier at the U.S. Yokosuka naval base in Tokyo Bay.
“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,” Pence, who’s on a 10-day trip through Asia, added.
Pence has repeatedly said that “all options are on the table” to deal with North Korea. And on Monday, he traveled to the tense Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea, where he warned North Korea’s leaders that after years of testing the U.S. and South Korea with its nuclear ambitions, “the era of strategic patience is over.”
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, himself traveling through the Middle East, also warned the regime, telling reporters during a stop in Saudi Arabia that “the leader of North Korea again recklessly tried to provoke something by launching a missile.”
White House officials have, however, have stopped short of flatly saying that military action was being planned.
Nevertheless, the U.S. reportedly directed two additional aircraft carrier groups toward the Korean Peninsula this week.
In addition to the U.S.S. Carl Vinson strike group, which had already been directed toward the area, the Pentagon has sent the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and the U.S.S. Nimitz toward the Sea of Japan as part of a larger show of force following North Korea’s missile tests, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
Administration officials, however, have also hinted the priority remained diplomacy, with an emphasis on leaning on China to exert influence over its neighbor.
But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday that he’d personally advised Trump be more blunt with Beijing, asking the President to “tell China that if you don’t take care of it, we will.”
With News Wire Services