Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:32AM
US Vice President Mike Pence waits before arrival of President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC on July 24, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US Vice President Mike Pence waits before arrival of President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC on July 24, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

US Vice President Mike Pence has said "the era of strategic patience is over," and called on China to “do more” on North Korea amid escalating military tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.   

Pence made the remarks in an interview with Fox News on Sunday during a trip to Estonia.  "We believe China should do more,” he said when asked about the recent firing of a missile by North Korea towards Japan.

“The president has been clear about that in his conversations with President Xi [Jinping] that while China has taken unprecedented steps to begin to isolate North Korea economically and to bring diplomatic pressure, we believe China has a unique relationship with the regime in North Korea and has a unique ability to influence decisions by that regime and we call on China to use that influence along with other nations in the region to encourage North Korea to join the family of nations, to embrace a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and abandon its provocative actions and its ballistic missile program," Pence said.

The vice president’s statement came the same day US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called on China to clear up its mind on imposing greater sanctions against North Korea.

She said she is “done” discussing North Korea and that any solution to the crisis must be a joint effort with regional partners. "China must decide whether it is finally willing to take this vital step. The time for talk is over," she said.

North Korea's actions are 'unacceptable'

Pence said during the interview on Sunday that North Korea's actions are "unacceptable" and that "the era of strategic patience is over."

“The continued provocations by the rogue regime in North Korea are unacceptable and the United States of America is going to continue to marshal the support of nations across the region and across the world to further isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically. But the era of strategic patience is over,” Pence said.

“The president of the United States is leading a coalition of nations to bring pressure to bear until that time that North Korea will permanently abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile program,” he said. 

This handout from the South Korean Defense Ministry in Seoul taken and released on July 30, 2017 shows a US Air Force B-1B Lancer (top) flying with a South Korean F-15K fighter jet over US Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek.(Photo by AFP)

Tensions have been running high on the Korean Peninsula over the North’s weapons program, which Pyongyang sees as a deterrent against a potential invasion by its adversaries, including the US.

The United States’ supersonic bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula along with fighters from Japan and South Korea, the US Pacific Air Forces announced in a statement on Sunday.