US Vice President warns North Korea 'era of strategic patience is over'

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Associated Press

US Vice President Mike Pence declared this afternoon the "era of strategic patience is over" with North Korea, expressing impatience with the speed and willingness of the regime to move toward ridding itself of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Mr Pence told reporters near the Demilitarised Zone separating North and South Korea that President Donald Trump is hopeful that China will use its "extraordinary levers" to pressure the North to abandon its weapons.

Mr Pence, who has called the North's failed missile test a day earlier "a provocation," said the US and its allies will achieve its objectives through "peaceable means or ultimately by whatever means are necessary" to protect South Korea and stabilise the region.

He visited a military base near the DMZ, Camp Bonifas, for a briefing with military leaders and to meet with American troops stationed there.

The joint US-South Korean military camp is just outside the 2.5-mile-wide DMZ.

His visit, full of Cold War symbolism, and his remarks to reporters come amid increasing tensions and heated rhetoric on the Korean Peninsula.

While the North did not conduct a nuclear test, the spectre of a potential escalated US response trailed Mr Pence as he began a 10-day trip to Asia.

Pointing to the quarter-century since North Korea first obtained nuclear weapons, the vice president said a period of patience followed.

"But the era of strategic patience is over," Mr Pence 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. 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."

Mr Trump himself asserted today that China was working with the United States on "the North Korea problem."

His national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said the US would rely on its allies as well as on Chinese leadership to resolve the issues with North Korea.

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