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Pence, on United States carrier, pledges to defend Asia

20 April 2017

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is making a pitch for President Donald Trump's economic policies, telling U.S. and Japanese business leaders that a tax overhaul and cut in regulations will help business on both sides of the Pacific. With no US trade representative yet in office and other key positions still unfilled, such nitty-gritty discussions will have to come later.

But Pence foreshadowed some reworking of the commercial and economic relationship saying that USA exporters should face a level playing field.

The U.S. military says an aircraft carrier participated in curtailed training with Australia before starting its journey north toward the Korean Peninsula. Pence will also visit Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. Pence arrived in Japan.

A ship bell signaled his arrival Wednesday morning on the USS Ronald Reagan at the U.S. Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo.

The official said Tuesday that Japan still hopes to bring the USA back into a multilateral framework such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. "That's the hard truth", Pence told the meeting.

Vice President Mike Pence is meeting Indonesia's president and other top officials in Jakarta on Thursday with trade and commercial disputes expected to be on the agenda. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to expand Japan's defense role and capability in the face of North Korea's threat and China's increasing assertive maritime activity in the East and South China Seas.

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"I think the path of negotiations with North Korea has been a colossal failure now for more than 25 years", Pence told the Washington Post.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters over the weekend that Japan might push ahead with a revised, 11-nation version of the TPP despite the US rejection of the trade accord.

Japan and the USA have outlined a path forward for economic talks between the countries.

Abe said Japan hoped for peaceful dialogue with Pyongyang, "but at the same time, dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless and it is necessary for us to exercise pressure North Korea so that it comes forward and engages in this serious dialogue".

The vice president is on a 10-day tour of Asia.

Concluding a visit to South Korea that was mostly focused on the North Korea problem, Pence told business leaders in Seoul earlier Tuesday that the administration is taking a fresh look at trade agreements as part of its "America First" policy.

Pence, on United States carrier, pledges to defend Asia