MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The Latest on Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Minot Air Force Base (all times local):
Vice President Mike Pence is vowing that the U.S. will keep up economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Pence spoke to airmen at North Dakota’s Minot Air Force Base on Friday. The visit marked the second by a top Trump administration official in the past six weeks. The base is home to both B-52 bombers and intercontinental nuclear missiles.
With a huge B-52 in the background, Pence thanked the roughly 250 assembled airmen for their service. He told them President Donald Trump is committed to maintaining America’s nuclear powers as a force for peace.
Pence’s visit to the Minot base coincided with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ visit to the Demilitarized Zone that separates North Korea from South Korea. Mattis accused North Korea of threatening global order and said the Trump administration remains committed to compelling the North to accept complete nuclear disarmament.
Vice President Mike Pence is headed for North Dakota’s Minot Air Force Base, the second time in six weeks that a top Trump administration official has visited the nuclear weapons base.
Pence’s visit Friday is billed as a tour. He’s also scheduled to address service members.
Defense Secretary James Mattis toured the base in September, in a visit widely seen as a reminder to North Korea of U.S. nuclear capabilities.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer says the nuclear assets in North Dakota have never been more relevant.
Minot has one of the nation’s two B-52 bomber bases. The base also oversees 150 of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles.
Sen. John Hoeven says the administration is putting much-needed funding into the base to maintain a “modern nuclear force.”