America's vice president has delivered another stark threat to North Korea, declaring that the time for “failed dialogue” is over.
In the latest of a series of warnings to Pyongyang that the US will keep “everything on the table” to force it to give up its nuclear weapons programme, Mike Pence claimed North Korea was getting the message that it needed to walk away from “reckless activity”.
“As the President says, it’s time for them to behave, to listen to the world community and to set aside their nuclear ambitions, their ballistic missile ambitions, and be willing to join the family of nations,” Mr Pence told CNN.
Mr Pence’s comments, delivered in Japan, came a day after he spoke in South Korea where he said the “the era of strategic patience is over”, a comment that was widely seen as hinting at US military action.
A day after North Korea launched its latest test missile, an experiment that ultimately fizzled out, Mr Pence said the US was hopeful China would use its “extraordinary levers” to persuade the North to give up its nuclear arms.
“But the era of strategic patience is over,” he 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.
Tensions on the peninsula have ratcheted up in recent weeks amid sabre-rattling from both the US and North Korea. Yet the vice president suggested that the message being delivered from the White House was getting through.
“For my part, in some odd way, it’s encouraging that they’re getting the message,” he told the broadcaster. “My hope is that they’ll continue to get the message not just from the United States, here in Japan, and in South Korea, but on an increasing basis from China and countries all over the world committing to a denuclearised Korean Peninsula.”
On Tuesday, after meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other leaders, Mr Pence told reporters that President Donald Trump was confident that economic and diplomatic pressure has a chance of compelling North Korea to cooperate.
“It is our belief by bringing together the family of nations with diplomatic and economic pressure we have a chance of achieving a freeze on the Korean Peninsula,” Mr Pence said, according to the Associated Press.
The Trump administration has signalled a more forceful US stance toward North Korea’s recent missile tests and threats, including a warning from Trump that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has “gotta behave”.
“We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live with increasing provacations from across the Sea of Japan,” he said. “We are with you 100 per cent.”
On Monday, Pence travelled to the tense Demilitarised Zone dividing North and South Korea. A senior North Korean official then accused the United States of bringing the countries to the brink of thermonuclear war.
Jean-Francois Fiorina, a professor of Geopolitics at Grenoble Ecole de Management in France, said Donald Trump believes he can have an influence on the situation in North Korea - something he said is not the case.
“To him, North Korea is a game he has to win to prove might over the Chinese. But he doesn’t understand that the North Korean leaders are unpredictable and don’t play by the rules,” he said.
“This means that anything could happen even a war … President Trump is playing a very dangerous game indeed.”Reuse content