Just hours after the North Koreans unsuccessfully test-fired another missile, Vice President Mike Pence touched down in South Korea for a scheduled diplomatic visit, though he ultimately deviated from security protocol to add an extra location for a special visit following the initial formalities.
According to Fox News, Pence arrived with a message of “100 percent” support for South Korea during a joint news conference with his host, after which he made a trip to the demilitarized zone that has served as the border between the two Korean nations since the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean War in an uneasy and tenuous cease-fire.
However, perhaps symbolically emphasizing that the “era of strategic patience is over,” Pence broke with standard security procedures for such a high-ranking guest to the DMZ and stepped outside the main building on the south side to literally engage in a stare-down with the North Korean troops guarding the north side of the border, CNN reported.
Wearing a leather flight jacket and surrounded by aides and military officials, Pence gazed across the border stoically. You can watch CNN’s Dana Bash report on the incident in hushed tones right here:
It is worth noting that due to fear that a sniper’s bullet might take them out, high-ranking North Korean officials rarely if ever go without the protection of bulletproof glass at the DMZ, a concern that Pence either didn’t share or bravely kept to himself for the moment — though his security detail was likely apprehensively working extra-hard to ensure his safety.
Once again, the Trump administration has sent the message loud and clear to all who will hear that the “play time” rogue regimes have enjoyed for the past eight years is over and done with, and the prior shenanigans that the North Koreans and others used to be able to pull off with few if any consequences will no longer be tolerated.
This time, the message was sent in person via the dagger-like stares a stone-faced Pence sent across the border to the equally expressionless communist soldiers guarding the veritable prison camp of a nation that consistently threatens to disrupt the peace and stability of not just the Asian Pacific region but of the entire world.
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