In Alaska stop, Vice Mike President gets refuel and military briefing

Pence’s visit to Alaska and the Korean Peninsula is meant to send a message of American resolve to North Korea’s leaders. (Mandel Ngan/Reuters/Pool)
Vice President Mike Pence made a stop in Alaska on Monday.

Pence visited Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage before continuing on to Japan and South Korea. He’s part of a U.S. delegation that will attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea this Friday.

But at JBER, part of the vice president’s focus was on sending a message to North Korea.

The vice president’s staff said in a written statement last month that Pence’s visit to Alaska and the Korean Peninsula would send a message of American resolve to North Korea’s leaders, as well as one of support for U.S. Olympic athletes and military service members stationed in the region.

Strategic importance of Alaska

Captain Bryant Davis, a spokesperson for the U.S. Alaskan Command, said Pence planned to hear from several different military commanders at JBER.

“During his visit, they’ll talk about the strategic importance of Alaska,” Davis said. “And because of our position at the top of the Northern Hemisphere, you really reach pretty much any major location in the Northern Hemisphere within hours by aircraft. So it’s a very strategic and important location for homeland defense and homeland security.”

Pence was also set to discuss the ballistic missile defense system. That includes dozens of interceptor missiles at Fort Greely in the Interior designed to guard against the type of nuclear attack that the North Korean regime has threatened in the past.

The vice president was scheduled to land at the base around 5 p.m. He planned to be on the ground in Alaska for a little less than two hours.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Surveillance and search and rescue top Canada’s Arctic defence priorities, Radio Canada International

Denmark: Denmark’s new defence agreement renews focus on protecting the Baltic, Radio Canada International

Finland:  Poll: Only a fifth of Finns back NATO membership, Yle News

Norway:  Nordic soldiers to wear common uniforms, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: What Russia’s new Navy Strategy says about the Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s Prime Minister reaffirms commitment to country’s defense, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. VP Mike Pence to visit Alaska, intercontinental ballistic missile facilities before Olympics, Alaska Public Media

Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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