Mike Pence Blames Joe Biden for North Korea Missile Launch

Former Vice President Mike Pence said that North Korea's missile tests stopped during the Trump-Pence administration and blamed President Joe Biden's "message of capitulation" to Iran for a North Korean launch Thursday.

Appearing on Fox News Friday, Pence said the previous administration stood up to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and brought "maximum pressure" on the country. When Kim realized there would be no concessions from the administration, "he came to the table for those historic summits," according to Pence, which led to no launching of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) or nuclear testing in over four years.

On Thursday, North Korea tested its first ICBM since 2017. The missile was believed to be a Hwasong-17, which could travel far enough to strike anywhere in the United States. During the test, it flew for more than an hour, reaching an altitude of 3,728 miles and a distance of 671 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan.

"The new strategic weapon of the DPRK will clearly show the might of our strategic force to the whole world once again," Kim reportedly told state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, according to NK News.

The White House said the missile launch was a "brazen violation" of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions that banned North Korea from conducting these types of tests. The Biden administration also said the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK, needs to be held accountable but should come to the table for serious negotiations, as "the door has not closed on diplomacy."

"The fact that for the first time in more than four years Kim Jong Un fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that went into space and landed in the Sea of Japan is a great concern," Pence said in the Fox interview.

He emphasized that these types of nuclear tests had stopped under the Trump-Pence administration because of its dealings with the North Korean leader. The fact that the Biden administration was "literally begging" Iran to reenter the 2015 nuclear agreement sent a message of capitulation to North Korea, the vice president said.

"Again, I've said many times, you know, peace comes through strength but weakness arouses evil," Pence told Fox News.

Former President Donald Trump held two summits with the North Korean leader. He was unable to reach a denuclearization deal with the country, although the testing of ballistic missiles stopped.

Meanwhile, North Korea has launched 12 missile tests this year alone, according to the Associated Press. The country conducted two missile launches in February and this month, which were believed to be testing parts of the ICBM system that was used on Thursday.

Kim released a dramatic, Hollywood-style video for Thursday's launch. The footage showed him in a leather jacket and sunglasses accompanied by two military officials. The video had dramatic music and slow-motion clips featuring Kim and the missile, leading up to the launch.

Update 03/25/22, 11:31 a.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information and background.

Update 03/25/22, 11:22 a.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information and background.

North Korea Missile Launch
Former Vice President Mike Pence blamed President Joe Biden's "message of capitulation" to Iran for a North Korean launch on Thursday. Above, people in Seoul, South Korea, watch on TV a report on a North Korean missile launch on September 15, 2021. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images