Tensions around the Korean Peninsula are heating up. On the same day North Korea had a scheduled test of a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile, and as the country was expected to plan another nuclear warhead test, US Vice President Mike Pence was set to land in South Korea on a diplomatic mission.
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As the Vice President landed in Korea, North Korea had just attempted to launch a new intercontinental ballistic missile in their latest test. Fortunately, the missile failed just seconds after takeoff. Some security experts have theorized that a hacking attempt, possibly from the United States or China, sabotaged the missile.
While all of this was going on, the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear aircraft carrier, along with its strike group, was sitting just off the coast of the small, communist country.
Vice President Pence took part in a wreath laying ceremony and attending Easter church services while in the country.
“Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” Pence said alongside South Korean acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn. “North Korea would do well not to test his resolve — or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.”
“This morning’s provocation from the North is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of America in this part of the world,” Pence said. “Your willingness to step forward, to serve, to stand firm without fear inspires our nation and inspires the world, and it’s an honor for us to share this meal with you today.”
Pence also met and greeted members of both the United States and South Korean military:
After the initial diplomatic issues were handled, Pence broke from the normal security protocols and actually traveled to the Korean DMZ, the area between North and South Korea, posed for a photo op, and stared down North Korean soldiers just yards away from his location while wearing a leather bomber jacket.
Pence is also scheduled to make stops in Australia, Indonesia, Japan and a stop in Hawaii on the way back to the United States.