Toughest sanctions in the offing for North Korea, says Mike Pence

Feb 08, 2018, 08:50 IST | Agencies

US vice president further mentions that the regime would not be allowed to hijack the Olympics

Mike Pence (left) cheers with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a courtesy dinner in Tokyo. Pence is in Tokyo for three days before leading a US delegation to the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winger Olympic Games on February 9. Pic/AFP
Mike Pence (left) cheers with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a courtesy dinner in Tokyo. Pence is in Tokyo for three days before leading a US delegation to the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winger Olympic Games on February 9. Pic/AFP

US Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday that Washington would soon unveil its "toughest sanctions ever" on North Korea, adding that the regime in Pyongyangwould not be allowed to "hijack" the upcoming Olympics. Speaking in Japan before attending the opening ceremony of the Winter Games in South Korea, Pence pledged that Washington would "intensify its maximum pressure campaign" on the North, working with Tokyo.

"I'm announcing today that the United States will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever," he said, without giving further details. Pence's three-day visit to Japan came as Washington seeks to bolster ties with its allies in the region and maintain pressure on the regime in Pyongyang despite a recent thaw on the peninsula.

"All options are on the table and the US has deployed some of our most advanced military assets to Japan and the wider region to protect our homeland and our allies and we will continue to," vowed Pence. To highlight what Washington calls the regime's human rights "abuses", the vice president will attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics with the father of the late former North Korea prisoner Otto Warmbier. The US and North Korea have been locked in a fierce war of words.

US President Donald Trump has mocked North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as "rocket man" and the young dictator has threatened to rain nuclear destruction on the United States. But Kim has taken a more conciliatory tone in 2018, calling for detente with the South Koreans and accepting an invitation for his country to participate in what is being billed as the "peace Olympics." The two Koreas held a rare high-level meeting last month and the North's ceremonial head of state is due to arrive on Friday, the highest-ranking Pyongyang official ever to visit the South.

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