The Yomiuri ShimbunYOKOSUKA — Visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reiterated the United States’ intentions to not rule out military measures against North Korea, which is pushing ahead with its nuclear and missile development, in his speech in Yokosuka on Wednesday morning.
Pence made the speech aboard the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which is stationed at the navy’s Yokosuka base in the city.
Speaking to about 2,600 U.S. service members and Self-Defense Forces personnel, Pence called North Korea “the most urgent and dangerous threat to the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region” and added that all options are on the table in dealing with Pyongyang, indicating the United States will not exclude military action against North Korea.
Pence said the United States would use all military force to defend Japan. Mentioning how the “strategic patience” policy under former U.S. President Barack Obama failed to stop provocative actions by North Korea, Pence said that policy had ended.
In addition, Pence stressed the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump would continue to work with allies like Japan, as well as with China, to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea until it abandons its ballistic missile and nuclear development projects.
“We will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response,” he said.
Pence also clearly stated the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture are subject to U.S. defense obligations based on Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty (see below).
The Ronald Reagan, whose home port is the Yokosuka base, is the sole U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier based overseas. In the event of an emergency on the Korean Peninsula, it will be dispatched to the Sea of Japan as the main force of the U.S. 7th Fleet and is expected to play a core role in the maritime operations.
As the Ronald Reagan is currently stationed at the Yokosuka base to undergo scheduled maintenance, the U.S. Navy has ordered another nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, to head for waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula to strengthen its military pressure on North Korea.
■ Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty
An article that stipulates the United States’ obligation to defend Japan. It stipulates, “Each party [Japan and the United States] recognizes that an armed attack against either party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger.” Japan is not obliged to defend the United States, but instead obliged to provide bases to the United States.Speech