FAIRBANKS – Vice President Mike Pence plans to stop in Alaska as part of a trip next month to the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The White House announced Wednesday that Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, will lead the U.S. delegation at the Olympics. As part of his trip, the vice president will “travel to Alaska to review ballistic missile defense facilities.”
“The Vice President is traveling to the Olympic Games in South Korea to reinforce the strong U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula and send a clear message of American resolve to the North Korean regime,” said Pence’s deputy chief of staff Jarrod Agen in a written statement. “The Vice President will reaffirm to the leaders of Japan and South Korea the United States’ unwavering commitment to our allies and to deter and defend against the North Korean threat. In addition to showing support for our U.S. athletes, the Vice President will show his confidence in and appreciation for our U.S. military stationed in the region.”
In addition to Pyeongchang and Alaska, the vice president plans to stop in Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo, Japan, to “participate in bilateral meetings with leaders to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”
The White House didn’t immediately provide more information about the location or timing of the Vice President’s Alaska stop. The opening ceremonies for the Pyeongchang Olympics are on Feb. 9.
Alaska’s Interior has two military bases that deal with ballistic missile defense. Fort Greely, near Delta Junction, is home to most of America’s ground-based midcourse missile interceptors, the nation’s only missile defense system designed to protect against intercontinental ballistic missiles like those recently tested by North Korea. Clear Air Force Station near Nenana is a radar station that serves to provide early warning of missiles headed toward the United States.
It’s common for U.S. presidents and vice president to stop in Alaska for refueling while traveling to or from Asia. On his way to another visit to South Korea in April, Pence stopped in Anchorage and met with Alaska Gov. Bill Walker.
Contact Outdoors Editor Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors