Seoul, Moscow – Just hours after US Vice President Mike Pence declared that the era of strategic patience was over; US President Donald Trump took a moment at the White House Easter egg roll Monday to deliver a rather harsh message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Trump made the comment to a CNN reporter after kicking off the 139th annual Easter egg roll with First Lady Melania Trump. When asked: “Any message for North Korea, sir, Kim Jong-Un?” Trump said: “Got to behave.”
North Korea’s UN deputy representative, Kim In Ryong, on Monday announced at a press conference that his country is ready for any war scenarios and rhetoric aimed at the United States.
Kim said: “If the US dares opt for a military action,” North Korea “is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US.”
Kim stressed that US-South Korean military exercises being staged now are the largest-ever “aggressive war drill” aimed at his country, formally the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
He said the Trump administration’s deployment of the Carl Vinson nuclear carrier task group to waters off the Korean Peninsula again “proves the US reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase of its scenario.”
VP Pence confirmed that all options are on the table to deal with threat. Whereas the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hoped there won’t be any unilateral actions like the one recently seen in Syria.
In a blatant defiance of international pressure, North Korea executed a new missile test which failed amid fears of preparations for a sixth nuclear test.
VP Pence warned North Korea not to test Trump’s resolve, declaring that “all options are on the table” in curbing its missile and nuclear weapons programs.
During a press conference in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), the area dividing the two Koreas, during a visit to South Korea to reaffirm ties, Pence hoped to achieve North’s denuclearization through peaceful means.
“Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” he said speaking alongside South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn.
VP said that the era of US “strategic patience” in dealing with the North was over, after more than two decades.
Pence noted that Washington’s policy has changed towards the isolated state. He also described the relations with South Korea as strong and consistent.
Pence’s visit came after Pyeongyang’s military parade during which the country exhibited what seems to be ballistic missiles. It also came following the failed missile test of North Korea. Pyeongyang insists it needs strong arsenal including nuclear weapons to protect itself from the invasion of the antagonist US forces.
Both the US VP and South Korean acting President reaffirmed their plans for the deployment in South Korea of a US anti-missile system, THAAD.
Pence said Monday Trump was “very hopeful that China will take actions to bring about a change of policy in North Korea,” but added later that Washington was “troubled by China’s economic retaliation against South Korea (for) taking appropriate measures to defend itself” by deploying the US THAAD missile defense system.
Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a clarification on the suspension of flights as of Monday from Beijing to Pyeongyang. The spokesman Lu Kang distanced the China government from the decision of suspending North Korea flights and said it was purely “market-based”.
“It’s natural for Air China or other airlines to make such decisions. There shouldn’t be over-interpretation of this issue,” Lu said.