The US on Wednesday expressed its willingness to cooperate with its allies and China to put economic and diplomatic pressure on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), reported Reuters.
US Vice President Mike Pence made the remarks to a crowd of representatives from both the Japanese and US militaries at the US' Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo, while visiting the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier stationed there.
Pence stressed the US remained determined faced with the threat from the DPRK, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests against UN sanctions, most recently with a failed missile launch on Sunday.
US Vice President Mike Pence delivers a speech to US and Japanese service members on the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan, at the US naval base in Yokosuka, Tokyo, Japan on April 19, 2017. /Reuters Photo
"Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and beat any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response," said Pence, reiterating that all options are on the table in dealing with Pyongyang, according to Reuters.
During the speech, Pence said by 2020 some 60 percent of the US naval fleet would be in the region and reassured Japan that it could count on the military support of the US.
"Beyond this noble ship and the carrier strike group that it leads, by the year 2020, this ocean will boast 60 percent of our navy's fleet and the skies above already have F-35 joint strike fighters flying for freedom. And you can rest assured, the full range of the United States military capability is dedicated to the protection of Japan. Japan, you are our friend, you are our ally and on that foundation we will face the future together."
USS Carl Vinson strike group still far from DPRK
Pence’s remarks come amid controversy over the location of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group.
An anonymous US defense official said that Vinson and other ships in the Navy strike group, which US President Donald Trump said last week had been sent to the Korean Peninsula as a warning to the DPRK, are instead carrying out drills off the coast of Australia, and wouldn't arrive in the Sea of Japan until next week at the earliest.