Pence slams North Korea’s military parade, but praises Trump’s call for a US one

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Vice President Pence on Friday bashed North Korea’s military parade the day before as a “provocation,” while simultaneously praising President Trump’s plans for military parade in the U.S.

“Make no mistake about it, what we witnessed in Pyongyang, and we witnessed again yesterday, on the eve of the Olympics … was once again an effort on the part of the regime in Pyongyang to display their ballistic missiles, to display a military that continues to make menacing threats across the region and across the wider world,” Pence told reporters in South Korea, where he is leading the U.S. Olympic delegation.

North Korea held the Thursday parade — featuring missiles, tanks and hundreds of soldiers — to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of its military.

{mosads}But when asked if the U.S. had given up its “moral high ground” with Trump’s plan to hold a grand military parade, possibly through the streets of Washington, D.C., Pence praised the concept.

“I think any opportunity we have to celebrate the men and women of the armed forces of the United States is a great day,” Pence said.

“I heartily support the president’s call to celebrate our military.”

Pence’s comments came following a tour of the Cheonan naval memorial, created after North Korea attacked and sunk the South Korean ship in 2010.

Trump last month directed Pentagon officials to begin exploring the possibility of a military parade, The Washington Post first reported. The Pentagon and the White House confirmed this week that officials were looking into the idea.

The commander in chief has long expressed his desire for such an event. He expressed awe over the large Bastille Day parade he attended in France last year, which featured soldiers alongside military hardware, and said that he wanted a similar parade in the U.S.

“I think in the United States of America, just as in France, where the president was impressed on Bastille Day, we can celebrate our troops, not in any way ever be associated with the provocations of the North,” Pence added.

Trump’s parade proposal, however, is already facing pushback from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle over its cost and the message of military bravado it conveys.

Retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO supreme allied commander, on Wednesday told MSNBC that such displays are unnecessary.

“We are the best military in the world and we don’t need a North Korean-style military parade to prove it,” Stavridis said.

On Thursday, the former Navy SEAL who reportedly shot and killed Osama bin Laden dismissed, dismissed the suggestion of the parade as a “third world” idea.

“A military parade is third world bullshit,” Robert J. O’Neill tweeted. ”We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation.”

Two Democratic lawmakers are introducing legislation in the House and Senate that would block federal funds from being used to pay for such a military parade. 

Pentagon officials, meanwhile, have stressed that the parade is still in initial planning stages.

In Pyeongchang, Pence also echoed the administration’s posture on a denuclearized North Korea.

“The simple truth is that the time has come for North Korea to permanently abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions — to recognize there is no future as a member of the family of nations for a nuclear-empowered North Korea,” he said.

Tags 2018 Winter Olympics Bastille Day Donald Trump Military parade Olympic Games Pyeonchang

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