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Vice President Pence: 'We Will Not Rest, We Will Not Relent Until the Korean Peninsula Is Denuclearized'

Vice President Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence restated the United States' resolve regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons program during a press conference Tuesday with his Japanese counterpart. (Reuters photo)

During a joint press conference with his Japanese counterpart Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence made it clear the U.S. is out of patience for North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

While his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe touched on a wide range of subjects, including improving trade relations between the two countries, the vice president also discussed regional security concerns. In his presser with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso afterward, he also touched on trade and other issues, but acknowledged the issue on most people's minds: the nuclear threat from North Korea.

And on that subject, he had a lot to say:

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has been the longstanding policy of the United States of America, of South Korea, of Japan, of China, and it's been the longstanding policy of nations across the world.

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For more than a generation, we've seen the very failure of dialogue writ large. First, we remember the agreed framework of the 1990s, then we remember the six-party talks. And with good-faith efforts by nations around the world again and again, North Korea met those efforts and resolution with broken promises and more provocations.

That's why we've said the era of strategic patience is over. And President Trump has made it very clear: The policy of the United States of America will be to reach out to our allies in the region here in Japan where I just had a productive conversation with Prime Minister Abe on this topic. Yesterday, in South Korea, where I met with officials in the National Assembly and acting President Hwang.

President Trump recently met with President Xi, and the President of China reaffirmed China's commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. It is our belief that by bringing together the family of nations with diplomatic and economic pressure, we have a chance—we have a chance—to achieve our objective of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

Now all options are on the table, and there they will remain. But President Trump and I and our administration believe the most productive pathway forward is dialogue among the family of nations that can isolate and pressure North Korea into abandoning permanently and dismantling its nuclear weapons program and its ballistic missile program.

As Prime Minister Abe said today in our brief conversation, dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless. It is necessary for us to exercise pressure, and the United States of America believes the time has come for the international community to use both diplomatic and economic pressure to bring North Korea to a place that it has avoided successfully now for more than a generation. And we will not rest and we will not relent until we achieve the objective of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

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