Vice President Mike Pence made a two-hour stop in Alaska late Monday and hailed the Land of the Midnight Sun as state where the nation's defense against foreign missiles starts.
"Missile defense begins here in Alaska," Pence told reporters at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, where his plane stopped to refuel on the way to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, The Anchorage Daily News reports.
"The American people and the world should know that our nation is secure, our nation's defenses from potential inbound missile attacks is the best in the world.
"And it's because of the extraordinary personnel here, the extraordinary partnership with the state of Alaska and the ongoing commitment of the American people."
Pence also said North Korea "must once and for all" abandon its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile ambitions.
"I'm traveling to the Olympics with my wife and with our delegation certainly to cheer on American athletes, but also quite frankly we're traveling to the Olympics to make sure that North Korea doesn't use the powerful symbolism and the backdrop of the Winter Olympics to paper over the truth about their regime," Pence said.
"[It's] a regime that oppresses its own people, a regime that threatens nations around the world, a regime that continues its headlong rush to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and uses those to threaten its neighbors and even threaten the United States of America."
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