VPOTUS Travel pool report 3 - Pence at the DMZ

From: Andrew BEATTY
Date: April 17, 2017 at 12:40:44 PM GMT+9
Subject: VPOTUS Travel pool report 3 - Pence at the DMZ

After arriving on the helo the vice president made his way to a UN mission building on the base where he was briefed by General Brooks.

Most of the pool was not inside, but these quotes were passed along from colleagues who were.

"It's an honor to be here ... The alliance between the United States Forces Korea and the forces of the Republic of Korea is historic. It is a testament to the unshakeable bond between our people. It's really humbling for me to be here. My father served in the Korean War with the U.S. Army. On the way here we actually saw some of the terrain he fought on, he fought alongside Korean forces to earn your freedom. So we're grateful to all those, who each and every day, standing together for freedom here in the DMZ."

From there the pool was taken separately into the DMZ, after a short drive past roughly ploughed fields and the occasional military building we arrived at Freedom House, a UN-US-ROK mission building that overlooks the familiar blue-roofed buildings of conference row that straddle the military demarcation line.

Beyond that was the North Korean counterpart of Freedom House, which was manned by a gentleman the US troops like to call "Bob". Bob appeared to duck behind a pillar to make a phone call as we arrived.

After 10 minutes or so the Vice President arrived and the US-ROK troops put up a "cordon" -- which was in effect a small detachment of around a dozen troops who went outside and stood guard between Freedom House and the demarcation line. They were met by a couple of North Korean troops who stayed on the other side of the line.

The VPOTUS then decided to follow the cordon out though two sets of blue tinted glass and out to within about 15 meters of the demarcation line. Your pool followed him out.

As VPOTUS stood at the top of a small set of steps and surveyed the scene, he received a briefing from a US military officer which the pool could not hear.

As they were speaking one of the North Korean soldiers busily took photos of the group. According to US personnel this was likely for intel purposes.

After about ten minutes the Vice President went back inside and gave the gaggle, which you should have in pool report 2.

After that VPOTUS motorcaded up a hill to an observation point Ouellette with views deep inside North Korea. below the OP the demarcation line had turned into a  substantial fence, manned every twenty meters or so by a US/ROK soldier.

Beyond the fence you could see some rusty speakers piping North Korean music at us at thoroughly tolerable volume. Many of the hillsides in North Korea were deforested and there was scant sign of life, except for one village with a giant flag, with a UN official said was now largely uninhabited. VPOTUS and his family took in the scene for a few moments.

Across the valley was a South Korean village with a similarly large flag.

After that VPOTUS went to a mess hall for what was billed as a lunch with US forces Korea, he made brief remarks, reprising previous comments about the US commitment to the alliance with South Korea.

At midday we are rolling back to Seoul in the motorcade with VPOTUS.

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