Pence Talks Trade in Japan

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence center right at bottom takes a selfie with U.S. servicemen on the flight deck of U.S. navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan at the U.S. Navy's Yokosuka base in Yokosuka sou

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence center right at bottom takes a selfie with U.S. servicemen on the flight deck of U.S. navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan at the U.S. Navy's Yokosuka base in Yokosuka sou

The vice president will also participate in a listening session, followed by remarks to the USA and Japanese business community. "Our businesses continue to face too many barriers to entry, which tilts the playing field against American workers and American growth", he told local business leaders.

It was Pence's second stop on the trip, which will later take him to Australia and Indonesia.

During last year's presidential campaign, President Donald Trump said he'd be willing to speak with Kim Jong Un, but when asked Wednesday if there would be any direct negotiations Pence said "not at this time".

"Unless you were in a crisis situation where we thought the North Koreans were getting ready to attack us, a preemptive strike against the North Korean nuclear and missile program is simply not a practical option."

"North Korea is the most unsafe and urgent threat to the peace and security of the Asian Pacific", he said.

"We're already seeing our allies in South Korea and Japan and the wider world standing behind us, but China is taking unprecedented steps to economically isolate North Korea, and given the fact that China represents more than 80 percent of the exports from North Korea this is enormously important", he said.

Despite his declaration that the United States has its sword ready, some analysts noted that the USS Ronald Reagan is in the middle of scheduled maintenance that will be completed only next month, with 100 pilots from its air wing yet to undergo training for deployment.

North Korea's comments on Pence's visit and his meeting with South Korea's acting President Hwang Kyo-ah was published by the state-run Uriminzokkiri website in an article that accuses the USA of trying to whip up anti-North Korean sentiment, Efe news reported. He affirmed the USA commitment to her longstanding relationship with Japan.

But Pence struck a starkly different tone during his visit to Indonesia, which has often been praised as a successful Muslim democracy where most practise a moderate form of Islam and coexist peacefully with substantial religious minorities.

Yoo's comments came after Vice President Pence took issue with the trade pact and market access for American companies in a speech at the American Chambers of Commerce in Seoul on Tuesday.

The vice president is on a 10-day tour of Asia. The discussions are to focus on economic and structural policy and trade and investment strategies aimed at strengthening both countries' economies.

US Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday that Washington would work with its allies and China to put economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea but added that America would defeat any attack with an "overwhelming response".

Trump's executive order does not include Indonesia, but the country is home to almost 14,000 refugees seeking resettlement in third countries and activists have said the ban would affect their ability of entering the U.S.

Pence says Trump will also attend the East Asia Summit that follows the regional meetings in the Philippines that same month.

This change in message, if translated into a firm policy of not negotiating with North Korea, could have huge implications.

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