Vice President Pence declares end to 'strategic patience' on North Korea

PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence visits the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the border between North and South Korea, April 17, 2017.PlayJung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH Vice President Pence declares end to 'strategic patience' on North Korea

Vice President Mike Pence declared an end to what he called a policy of "strategic patience" on North Korea during a surprise visit to the Demilitarized Zone on his trip to South Korea.

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"The era of strategic patience is over," Pence said. "President Trump has made it clear that the patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out and we want to see change. We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path of the development of nuclear weapons, and also its continual use and testing of ballistic missiles is unacceptable."

Pence landed via helicopter at Camp Bonifas, about a mile from the southern boundary of the zone. He received a security briefing from Gen. Vincent Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, and then visited the Freedom House observation post in the DMZ.

PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, center right, is briefed by U.S. Gen. Vincent Brooks, right, commander of the United Nations Command, U.S. Forces Korea and Combined Forces CommandAP
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, center right, is briefed by U.S. Gen. Vincent Brooks, right, commander of the United Nations Command, U.S. Forces Korea and Combined Forces Command

Pence stopped in South Korea while touring the Asia-Pacific region for the first time since taking office. His visit comes just a day after a failed North Korean missile launch and one month since Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to the DMZ, where he was notably photographed by a North Korean soldier standing just inches away on the other side of a window.

Briefly addressing reporters in Camp Bonifas, Pence praised the "unshakable bond" between the U.S. and Korean people.

"My father served in the Korean War with the U.S. Army, and on the way here, we actually saw some of the terrain my father fought alongside Korean forces to help earn your freedom," Pence said. "It's a great honor to be with all of our forces."

ABC News' Chad Murray and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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