Pence Confident ‘We Will See A Korean Peninsula Free of Nuclear Weapons’

By Susan Jones | April 17, 2017 | 9:50 AM EDT

Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, South Korea, Monday, April 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

( – “This is a frontier of freedom,” Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday as he visited the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea.

He noted that for more than 60 years, U.S. and South Korean forces “have held the line for freedom here at the DMZ. And it gives me great confidence as we go into the future that we will achieve our objective of a secure and prosperous South Korea. But also that we will – that we will see a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.”

Earlier, Pence told reporters at the DMZ that “the era of strategic patience is over.” CNN’s Dana Bash asked Pence what that means:

“It was the policy of the United States of America during prior administrations to practice what they called strategic patience,” Pence said. The policy aimed to end North Korea’s nuclear ambitions by applying international pressure.

“That clearly has failed, and the advent of nuclear weapons testing, the development of a nuclear program -- even this weekend, to see another attempt at a ballistic missile launch -- all confirms the fact that strategic patience has failed,” Pence said.

Pence told CNN that President Donald Trump is “going to abandon the failed policy of strategic patience. But we’re going to redouble our efforts to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear on North Korea. Our hope is that we can resolve this issue peaceably, and I know the president was heartened by his discussions with (Chinese) President Xi. 

“We’ve seen China begin to take some actions to bring pressure on North Korea, but there needs to be more.”

Pence said the administration’s “hope” and “prayer” is that a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula will result from having China and other nations put renewed pressure on North Korea.

“But the people in North Korea should make no mistake that the United States of America and our allies will see to the security of this region and see to the security of the people of our country.”