JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (KTUU) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stopped briefly in Alaska Monday evening, meeting with aerospace and missile defense leaders before briefly taking questions from local reporters and heading to the Winter Olympic Games.
Air Force 2 lands at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Monday evening. (KTUU)
"At a time of increased provocations and threats of A ballistic missile from the rogue regime in North Korea, the work done here at Elmendorf with missile defense command, as well as NORAD, is more important than ever," Pence said to reporters.
Pence spoke with senior military leadership in Alaska as well as Gov. Bill Walker before he took a few questions from reporters.
In a phone interview late Monday evening Walker said Pence spoke about the state's strategic location in defense.
"How we're are America's defense post against North Korea," Walker said, "if they're going to launch something, Alaska is the one who's going to intercept. And also about the build up of the military here in Alaska, the new additional money coming through Alaska for 22 more intercept missiles."
Vice President Pence also said the Trump administration has added $5 billion over the current appropriations funding for additional missile defense in Alaska.
"Alaska is the home of missile defense for all intents and purposes in the United States," Pence said, "particularly with regard to the rogue regime in North Korea. And, Alaska's ready."
Pence's visit to the Olympic Games is also meant to continue the United States' pressure campaign on North Korea.
"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, a regime that oppresses its own people," Pence said. "A regime that threatens nations around the world, a regime that continues its headlong rush to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and use those to threaten its neighbors and event threaten the United States of America."
Pence will be in Japan Tuesday.