Pence begins Asia trip amid tensions with North Korea

Pence is opening his trip to the Asia-Pacific region amid increasing tensions in North Korea over the regime’s nuclear missile programs.

US Vice President Mike Pence is set to arrive Sunday in South Korea as President Donald Trump vows that Kim Jong Un’s government is a “problem” that will be “taken care of.”

The vice president’s 10-day trip comes as North Korea celebrates the 105th anniversary of the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung, which falls on Saturday. It’s North Korea’s most important holiday and a large-scale military parade is expected.

Tensions have been on the rise along the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks over concerns about North Korean aggression. Pyongyang appears to be on the verge of conducting its sixth nuclear missile test.

“Whatever comes from the US, we will cope with it. We are fully prepared to handle it,” North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol stated on Friday in an AP interview in Pyongyang.

“If the US comes with reckless military maneuvers, then we will confront it with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) pre-emptive strike. We’ve got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a US pre-emptive strike,” he said. “We will go to war if they choose.”

“As long as the nuclear threats and blackmail go on with the military exercises (with South Korea) we will carry forward with our national defense buildup, the core of which is the nuclear arms buildup,” Ryol added, continuing his defiance against US warnings regarding North Korea’s missile development program.

In February, for instance, North Korea conducted another missile test, challenging the US and, particularly, the Trump administration.

“As for the nuclear test, that is something that our headquarters decides. At a time and at a place where the headquarters deems necessary, it will take place,” Ryol said, calling the Trump administration “more vicious and more aggressive” than Obama’s team.

“Whatever comes from U.S. politicians, if their words are designed to overthrow the DPRK system and government, we will categorically reject them,” he declared.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff