U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s Asia trip to Counter NoKor threat

U.S. Vice President, Mike Pence, swung throughout Asia, stopped in Korea for the Winter Olympics and added a trip to Japan, which focused less on the host country’s irate neighbour, the North.


Photo credit to: http://www.philstar.com

Pence left on Monday for Alaska then Japan and lastly to South Korea hoping that North Korea doesn’t “hijack” the games as it participates on a joint team with the South This will hold symbolic events on it’s own highlighting the North’s human rights abuses and nuclear ambitions.


Pence toured missile defense facilities in Alaska on Monday that monitor and could quickly respond to a North Korean missile launch. In Japan, he met with Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and visited U.S. service members at Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo.


Later, in Korea, Pence will visit a memorial to the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack blamed on the North, and hold meetings with his South Korean President, Moon Jae-in.


Pence said that missile defense is of key importance to national defense before he entered a briefing with U.S. Northern Command at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska. He added to the deployment of an additional 20 ground-based interceptors that would respond to any enemy missile launch.


As Pence will lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, he will bring to the games Fred Warmbier, the U.S. student who died in 2017 shortly after he was released from North Korean detention and possibly offer a moment of silence.


U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, however, did not rule out the possibility of a U.S.-North Korea meeting at the Olympics. The games will provide a time for diplomatic talks between the rival Koreas.


White House officials said that Pence was not seeking a meeting with North Korean officials participating in the games, but didn’t rule out the possibility of a chance encounter.


Reference: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Asia and Olympics aimed at countering North Korea


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