U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will visit South Korea later this month as North Korea’s showcasing of its nuclear and missile programs further escalates tensions in the East Asia region.
Pence will be on a 10-day, four-nation Asia-Pacific trip that is to include visits to Japan, Indonesia, Australia and Hawaii. He departs April 15, according to the White House.
This will be the vice president’s first official travel to the Asia-Pacific rim, where he will meet with leaders to discuss military alliances, trade and economic issues.
Pence’s trip to South Korea follows North Korea’s April 5 launch of a ballistic missile into waters off its east coast, prompting warnings from President Donald Trump that the U.S. would act unilaterally to halt the North’s acts of aggression.
The launch was the latest in a series of missile and nuclear tests North Korea has conducted over the last two years.
The trip is an opportunity for Pence to discuss Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement that would have included Australia and Japan.
Trump’s crackdown on immigration and travel from six Muslim-majority countries will likely be a topic of discussion with leaders of Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world. Although Indonesia is not on the list of predominately Muslim countries included in Trump’s travel ban, Indonesian leaders have expressed displeasure with the ban, which has been blocked by U.S. courts.