Seoul, April 17 (IANS) US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas at a moment of heightened tension with Pyongyang amid repeated weapons tests.
A few metres from the tense border with North Korea, Pence once again stressed the importance of the alliance between Washington and Seoul and the determination of the American people and President Donald Trump to resolve the situation through peaceful means, Efe news reported.
However, Pence said the US has run out of patience and that all options are on the table for achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as he hinted at the possibility of using military action if necessary.
Pence travelled from Seoul in a Blackhawk military helicopter to Camp Bonifas, a defence compound near the DMZ named after one of two US soldiers killed by North Korean troops in 1976.
The DMZ is a 4 km-wide strip full of mines that crosses the border between the two countries.
It is the only point where North and South Korean troops come face to face.
Hours before Pence landed in South Korea on Sunday, the Kim Jong-un regime carried out yet another failed ballistic missile test.
In response to an earlier missile, fired on April 5, the Pentagon sent nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its attack group to the Korean Peninsula.
On Monday, Pence will also meet South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn and National Assembly speaker Chung Sye-kyun.
Pence and Hwang are expected to discuss ways of urging Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missiles program through diplomatic pressure and a hardening of sanctions.
Pence will leave for Japan on Tuesday. His trip includes visits to Indonesia and Australia.