Washington: US Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday Washington stands “shoulder to shoulder” with Japan and other allies as it seeks to achieve the goal of denuclearising North Korea. Pence, in Tokyo on his way to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, was speaking at the start of talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that were expected to showcase the US-Japan security alliance in the face of the North Korean threat.
“We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Japan, the people of South Korea and our allies and partners across the region until we achieve the global objective of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” Pence said. Earlier, Pence visited a Japanese Patriot PAC-3 missile battery, Japan’s last line of defence against any possible North Korean missile strike.
Pence watched the battery raised to a firing position and got a briefing before shaking hands with members of the Self-Defense Forces, as Japan’s military is known. He was accompanied by Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera and Japan’s highest ranking military officer, Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano. His trip to South Korea from Thursday will coincide with a visit to the Games by North Korea’s ceremonial leader, Kim Yong Nam, the most senior North Korean official to enter the South since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a truce.