In reporting on Vice President Pence’s arrival in Tokyo last night, all national dailies except Sankei took up remarks made to the press by Vice President Pence en route to Japan, during which he spoke about the heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula. The Vice President reportedly said: “We’ll be ensuring that whatever cooperation that’s existing between North and South Korea today on Olympic teams does not cloud the reality of a regime that must continue to be isolated by the world community…. We will continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions.” When asked about the possibility of communication with North Korean officials in PyeongChang, the Vice President said: “President Trump has said he always believes in talking, but I have not requested a meeting. We’ll see what happens.” Yomiuri took this remark to mean that Vice President Pence may agree to exchange ceremonial greetings with DPRK visitors.
According to Yomiuri, the Vice President visited a U.S. base in Anchorage, Alaska, on his way to Japan and observed missile defense platforms there in an apparent attempt to display the U.S. capability to shoot down North Korean ballistic missiles. He later told the press that America’s defense against potential inbound missile attacks is “the best in the world.”