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Mike Pence says there's "no question" U.S. was headed toward a confrontation with North Korea

Pence speaks on relations with North Korea
Pence speaks on relations with North Korea 03:00

Vice President Mike Pence said he believes there's "no question" the U.S. was headed toward a confrontation with North Korea before President Trump took office. During Mr. Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday, he said if he "had not been elected president," the U.S. would be in a "major war with North Korea."

"I think there's no question that the United States was headed toward a confrontation with North Korea," Pence told "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor. "President Obama reflected on his deep concern about North Korea I know during the transition in conversations with President Trump. And there's no question that was the case."

Mr. Trump announced during his address he would be meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a second summit later this month. It will take place on Feb. 27 and 28 in Vietnam.

The two met in 2018 in Singapore to discuss an agreement to start the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But a Department of Defense missile-defense assessment published last month said North Korea still poses an "extraordinary threat" to national security. Intelligence officials have warned North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear arsenal.

Still, Pence said it's important to remember "how far we've come."

"The president reflected on that in the State of the Union address. When we came into office, North Korea was firing missiles over Japan. It was testing nuclear weapons, menacing the region, threatening the people of the United States of America. And now, because of the strong stand that President Trump took, standing up to North Korea's aggression and rhetoric, now North Korea's come to the table," Pence said.

Will the U.S. intervene in Venezuela? 03:32

As Mr. Trump prepares for his summit with Kim, his administration has become involved in the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, urging President Nicolas Maduro to relinquish power. The U.S., which has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president, has not yet threatened additional action against Maduro.

Pence called Mauro a "dictator" who needs to go but said the administration was hoping for a peaceful transition.

"President Trump made it clear that we're going to stand for freedom and democracy in Venezuela. We've sanctioned more than 50 individuals associated with the Maduro regime. We recently sanctioned the national oil company. We're gonna keep all options on the table, but our hope is that you see hundreds of thousands of people take to the street for freedom and democracy and a restoration of Venezuela that we'll see a peaceful transition of power," Pence said.

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