US Vice-President Mike Pence urges Latin American nations to isolate North Korea

Pence is pictured during a joint press conference with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
Pence is pictured during a joint press conference with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.PHOTO: AFP

SANTIAGO (REUTERS) - US Vice-President Mike Pence urged Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Mexico to break ties with North Korea on a visit to Chile on Wednesday (Aug 16), adding that "all options" are on the table with regards to the Asian state.

"The US places great importance on the ongoing diplomatic isolation of the Kim regime and we strongly urge Chile today, and we urge Brazil, Mexico, and Peru to break all diplomatic and commercial ties to North Korea," Pence said in a joint press conference with Chile's President Michelle Bachelet.

US President Donald Trump warned North Korea last week it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States, prompting North Korea to say it was considering plans to fire missiles towards the Pacific island of Guam. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un later delayed the decision to fire the missiles, a move Trump praised earlier on Wednesday.

Pence said he would "especially welcome" Chile reclassifying its wine exports as a luxury good, which would bring it under the umbrella of United Nations sanctions against the isolated country.

Chile is the world's leading wine exporter outside of Europe.

Pence added that there were recent glimmers of hope on the North Korea situation.

"Our administration has been marshalling the support of nations around the world, and as the President acknowledged this morning, we are beginning to see progress in dealing with North Korea's provocations," he said.

Pence also said Latin America "should do more" on Venezuela, where over 120 people have been killed since anti-government protests began in April. He reiterated recent comments that the United States is keen to work together with other countries in Latin America "to achieve a peaceable solution".

At the press conference, Bachelet said that her nation would support any UN Security Council efforts to resolve humanitarian and political issues in the oil-rich nation.

Pence is on his third stop of a Latin America tour that also included Argentina and Colombia. He said he would end the trip "a little bit early" on Thursday after visiting Panama.