Vice President Mike Pence joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss the Trump administration's stance on North Korea, the United States' relationship with China, and the budget deal Congress passed over the weekend. Below is a full transcript.
CHARLIE ROSE: We're in the East Room, having a remarkable day, a special day for us-- getting a chance to see this magnificent building, feel the patriotism, feel the sense of history here. And we're especially glad now to be joined by the vice president of the United States. Welcome.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Thank you very much. And welcome to the White House.
GAYLE KING: Thank you.
CHARLIE ROSE: Let me begin with North Korea. You were there. Tell me the impact of being there-- and-- and where you think this conflict is right now. Because the president talked to John Dickerson and-- and characterized the North Korean leader.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well, it's-- it's a very serious time in the region. And it's a very serious threat to the peace and stability of our allies. And-- I-- I think-- as the president has said again and again, North Korea represents the most serious security threat in the world.
And he wanted me to go there. He wanted me to reaffirm our commitment to South Korea, to Japan, to our allies in the region, but to stand there, as I had the privilege to do-- at the DMZ and to look into North Korea-- for me-- was-- it-- it was-- it was a chilling experience to-- to look into a nation-- living under the kind of oppressive regime-- that--
CHARLIE ROSE: Everybody--
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: --Kim family means in Pyongyang.
CHARLIE ROSE: Everybody knows-- that the best way to get something done here is through China, with China. The president constantly talks about this relationship he has with Xi Jinping. What are the Chinese doing, specifically, that's making-- the chances of eliminating this problem--
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well, look--
CHARLIE ROSE: --easier?
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: --we-- yeah, the-- and the president's made it clear. We seek a peaceable solution here. And-- but the key is that-- that-- the message he had me make clear, he had the secretary of state make clear, and he's made clear, is that the era of strategic patience is over-- that-- that now, for more than a quarter of a century, the United States has-- has-- in-- in one way or another-- negotiated, had talks, waited patiently. All the while we've seen the regime in North Korea continue its headlong pursuit of nuclear weapons-- and a ballistic missile program.
And the president said that's over. We're engaging our allies in the region, to economically and diplomatically isolate North Korea. But what's really new here, I think it's a great encouragement to people across this country and across the world, is that you have a president-- in President Trump who's engaging directly with the president of China. And we are seeing China do more than they have done before.
CHARLIE ROSE: And what is that?
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well, we-- we have word of-- of China turning back coal shipments from North Korea. We have word of them-- beginning to-- reduce the amount of commercial travel that exists between North Korea. But as the secretary of state said at the U.N. last week, China needs to do more.
We're calling on our allies in the region to reconsider their diplomatic relations with North Korea. We're-- we're calling on allies in the region to reconsider their guest worker program that provides an enormous amount of cur-- currency to the regime. The key here is for the-- the United States-- and our allies in the region, working with China-- to provide the kind of economic and diplomatic pressure that will result in the regime in Pyongyang-- ending permanently-- their nuclear and ballistic missile ambition.
Now we also made it clear all options are on the table. And-- in-- in-- in actions the world has seen the president take in Syria and Afghanistan, President Trump in a very real way has-- has restored the credibility of American power. And they know that-- they know that we are-- we are prepared to defend our allies and defend--
GAYLE KING: So we've made it clear--
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: --ourselves. But we're going to drive toward a peaceable solution.
GAYLE KING: We've made it clear, Mr. Vice President. Have they -- have-- do you have a sense of what they want in return from us?
CHARLIE ROSE: The North Koreans?
GAYLE KING: Yes. Yes.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well, we-- I-- I don't think we do at this point. We continue to see one provocation after another. This-- this weekend began with-- another failed missile launch from North Korea-- even while the world community was discussing the issue at the U.N. Security--
GAYLE KING: So how--
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: --Council.
GAYLE KING: --do we get at that, to find out, "What do you want in return?" What-- what is the whole purpose here--
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well, I-- I-- honestly, I think North Korea knows what the world community wants. The world community has been united for--
GAYLE KING: No, I want to—
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: --a quarter of a century.
GAYLE KING: --know what they want. What-- I-- I'm-- I'm curious about what their-- what they want.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well--
NORAH O'DONNELL: --they want an end to sanctions--
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well-- well, the—an -- I think this is a terrific question because one of the things that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made clear is that under President Donald Trump we are not going to negotiate to get the right to negotiate. We're not going to negotiate to get at the negotiating table. North Korea knows through U.N. actions in the past, through pronouncements by the world community, they need to abandon their nuclear program, abandon their ballistic missile program, they need to stand down in a very real sense to have the right to engage the world community on the way forward.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Mr. Vice President, can I ask you, before Congress finally reached agreement on this spending agreement last night so there won't be a government shutdown, but it does not include money for the wall and it does continue funding for Planned Parenthood. Are you disappointed?
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: We couldn't be more pleased that thanks to President Trump's leadership and direct engagement, last night at the White House and leaders in the House and Senate in both parties signed off on a budget deal. It'll avert a government shutdown but more important than that there's going to be a significant increase in military spending. Our armed forces have been hollowed out in recent years by budget cuts. 21 billion dollars in defense spending in this bill. There's also a down payment on border security. I think the American people are encouraged to hear that since our inauguration, illegal border crossings are down 60 plus percent in this country. And in this bill there's a down payment on additional border security. I'm also pleased to see as the President was insistent on that we're providing support for health benefits for coal miners and here in the District of Columbia we're continuing an educational choice program for disadvantaged children that began back in the days when I was in the Congress. So this is a budget deal that's a bipartisan win for the American people and the President signed off on the parameters early yesterday. Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement with the White House last night and I think--
NORAH O'DONNELL: There was compromise--
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: --that's a good piece of Monday morning news for the American people.
NORAH O'DONNELL: --there was compromise.
GAYLE KING: The President told John Dickerson over the weekend that there was a learning curve for the Republican party and he said for himself as well. Do you feel that?
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well for me it's just been an incredibly humbling experience to be able to come to this building every day to serve as Vice President to President Donald Trump. But I think for our colleagues on Capitol Hill particularly, as we continue to drive toward our promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare, as we lay a foundation for an infrastructure bill, for President Trump's call for the largest tax cut in American history, I think this – the learning process for many on Capitol Hill about governing has been moving forward.
And I think this morning's announcement about reaching a bipartisan deal on budget says that the American people can be encouraged that Washington is working again thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump. Thanks to his direct engagement with members of congress. We're seeing real progress—
GAYLE KING: I hear you have Wednesday night dinners for people—
NORAH O'DONNELL: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, we are out of time. Thank you so much--
GAYLE KING: --I would like to come to a Wednesday night dinner.
NORAH O'DONNELL: --for joining us.
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