Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

VP Mike Pence: US not seeking North Korea negotiations


He said that under President Donald Trump, the US will stand up to its enemies with its allies. They agreed to expand joint exercises and arms-equipment trade. However, they still differ on how to approach this goal. The Trump administration's hardening stance against the regime was also echoed by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday.

Asked if he envisioned direct negotiation between North Korea and the US, Pence said, "Not at this time". His comments raise the prospect of trade talks with Japan, as well as a look into the current agreement with South Korea. But with or without the United States, and as reported in Politico, the TPP will likely form the basis of a standardized bilateral trade agreement framework - data protection and e-commerce provisions being among a few of the TPP provisions that will likely be used in future bilateral agreements.

"So the rising Muslim populism aside, I would expect that during this trip, the vice president will focus on the bilateral relationship, on ASEAN, on counter-terrorism, and also doubling down on what could be done to strengthen commercial ties between the two countries", she said.

Sector-specific cooperation, meanwhile, will include such fields as energy and high-speed railways.

Pence was addressing U.S. military personnel and guests including Japanese sailors on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which is forward-deployed with the U.S. Seventh Fleet at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, 40 miles south of Tokyo.

Today, more than 50,000 US troops, and another 50,000 civilians and family members are stationed in Japan, Pence told the audience.

Recently the U.S. Treasury Department released a report that did not label Korea a currency manipulator.

Pence, himself, indicated that the administration is looking for a non-military way out of the crisis. "If that was a lie, then during Trump's term, South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says".

At the same time, Trump's withdrawal from the TPP means America loses out on eased tariffs and other favorable provisions.

"The economic partnership between the U.S. and Japan will continue to grow and flourish", he added.

In a recent interview, Trump again stressed that the USA dollar continues to remain too strong, which affects exports. American beef exports to Japan fell more than 10% by volume in 2015.

The vice president will also participate in a listening session, followed by remarks to the US and Japanese business community. The sector is lobbying the administration to cut a free trade deal with Japan.

The Yomiuri ShimbunAutomobiles, agricultural products and foreign exchange policy are three areas that are expected to be the subjects of heated debate in the Japan-U.S. economic dialogue. "Most concerning is the fact that the United States trade deficit with South Korea has more than doubled since Korus came into effect".

Adam Mulawarman, the Indonesian foreign ministry's director of American affairs, said he believed "the visit to Istiqlal reflects the desire of the United States to open itself to Islam, to engage in interfaith dialogue".

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