April 26, 2017

Pence to seek market access, investment, in Japan talks

21 April 2017, 01:30 | Marion Schneider

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese leaders began talks Tuesday expected to focus largely on trade with America's anchor ally in the region, though tensions with North Korea loomed large.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence talks with members of the American Chamber of Commerce at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

At the outset of his meeting with Abe, Pence said that "While all options are on the table", Trump was determined to work with Japan, South Korea and other allies in the region to resolve the problem.

Ministry official Kim Chang Min also said in the interview in Pyongyang that the United Nations, the Security Council and big countries ignored South Korean missile launches and Japanese surveillance satellites.

The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association expressed concern about any review of the pact, which removed tariffs on auto trade between the two countries.

As fears grow that it may also be preparing for its sixth nuclear weapons test, Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol said that its programme would only escalate.

President Donald Trump in Washington and Pence at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea have signalled a forceful US stance on North Korea's recent actions.

Mattis did not identify the type of missile but said it was not of intercontinental range, meaning it could not reach USA territory.

This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows Korean People's ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. The North conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile tests last year, defying six Security Council sanctions resolutions banning any testing, and it has launched more missiles this year including a failed attempt this past weekend.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador accused the United States on Monday of turning the Korean Peninsula into "the world's biggest hotspot" and creating "a risky situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment".

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi repeated China's line that the crisis could only be resolved by diplomacy.

Arriving in Tokyo for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Pence hailed the two countries' longstanding security ties. Abe has signaled support for the USA decision to launch a missile strike on a Syrian air base from where a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians was allegedly launched earlier this month.

Trump campaigned for office on an "America First" platform, saying he would boost USA manufacturing jobs and shrink the country's trade deficit with countries like Japan.

President Trump signed an executive order formally withdrawing the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal soon after he took office and is now seeking renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have soared in recent weeks as a series of North Korean missile tests have prompted ever-more severe warnings from Trump's administration.

They also did not discuss during the lunch specific actions they might take if North Korea conducts another nuclear test, the official said, while adding that both sides agreed not to make public the contents of a small-group meeting that took place after their lunch.

The loss of USA participation in the TPP was a blow to Japan following strenuous negotiations, especially over opening access wider to its long-protected farm sector.

Japanese 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.

Pence developed ties with Japanese business and political leaders as governor of IN, a state that is home to Subaru 7270.T , Honda 7267.T and Toyota 7203.T plants, and about 260 Japanese companies IN total employing about 60,000 residents.

As talks began Tuesday, Aso said the U.S. -Japan alliance has underpinned peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and that trade friction with the U.S. has given way to an "age of cooperation".

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