When Sunday comes around, Vice President Mike Pence will be headed to South Korea to show that the U.S. is still committed to her longtime ally despite the issues with North Korea.
South Korea is just one stop in the Vice President’s 10-day trip to Asia. This trip will be the first for Mike Pence as Vice President of the United States. The trip has been in preparation for quite some time, but it also happens to fall right in the middle of issues with Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear missile test.
President Trump has recently sent a full aircraft carrier group to the peninsula to show force, but China believes it won’t mean anything to the North. But as it currently stands, the North doesn’t take it as a threat, so U.S. officials have been brainstorming other options including tougher economic sanctions and possible military entry.
While the U.S. most likely wouldn’t be hit by North Korea, saying the same thing about South Korea isn’t as probable. As a result, VP Mike Pence is going to celebrate Easter with American and South Korean troops stationed at the 38th. This is just one action he will take before meeting with South Korea’s acting President, Hwang Kyo-ahn.
In a preview of Pence’s trip, a White House foreign policy adviser told reporters the following:
“We’re going to consult with the Republic of Korea on North Korea’s efforts to advance its ballistic missile and its nuclear program.”
Pence will be visiting just after North Korea’s “Day of the Sun,” which is the largest national day in the country. Sending the Vice President to South Korea just after a trigger happy dictatorship celebrates their biggest national day doesn’t seem smart. However, the White House says they have contingency plans if another nuclear test happens.
On the “Day of the Sun” ICBM missiles were displayed during the parade. However, there was no nuclear test.
The adviser continued his remarks:
“Unfortunately, it’s not a new surprise for us. He continues to develop this program; he continues to launch missiles into the Sea of Japan. With the regime it’s not a matter of if – it’s when. We are well prepared to counter that.”
Pence also hopes the trip, which will also include Tokyo, Jakarta, and Sydney, will focus on talks surrounding the “belligerence” of the North and “free and fair trade”. Trade has been a huge push in Trump’s administration and campaign. His “America First” trade policy often rebuked countries in Asia for abusing and taking advantage of America.