Pence reassures Japan of US resolve on North Korea, to work with China
19 April, 2017, 11:02
Japan's prime minister has called for a peaceful resolution of tensions involving North Korea but also urged pressure on Pyongyang to force it to abandon its military nuclear program.
In February, the North simultaneously fired four ballistic missiles off its east coast, three of which fell provocatively close to Japan, in what it said was a drill for an attack on USA bases in the country. "But, we'll see what happens".
South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that South Korea would strengthen its alliance with the United States and closely cooperate with China to rein in North Korea.
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.
The vice president's team has said that the main objective of his visit is to increase U.S. access to Japanese markets, as well as to push for more investment in the US.
"But the United States is troubled by China's economic retaliation against South Korea for taking appropriate steps to defend itself", he said. Over the weekend, he suggested in a tweet that part of the reason for the revised stance is that China could be helpful in deterring North Korea. His language was stronger than in a written statement he issued shortly after the launch, in which he simply said he was aware of the failure.
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.
During a fellowship meal after the services, he said the tensions on the Korean peninsula had put into sharp focus the importance of the joint U.S.
That missile was being carried on a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile transporter, but was a different type of device, Schilling said. He did not comment on what might have caused the missile to fail.
Amid rising tensions with North Korea, Pence pointed to recent high-profile USA military actions in Syria and Afghanistan as evidence of the Trump administration's "strength and resolve".
The unannounced trip allowed the vice president, whose father fought in the Korean War, to look at North Korean soldiers from afar and gaze directly across a border marked by razor wire.
After North Korea attempted a missile launch that reportedly failed on Sunday, US vice-president Mike Pence on Monday warned the Kim Jong-un regime not to test Washington's resolve, and warned them that the era of "strategic patience" was over.
Mr Trump's warning came just hours after Vice President Mike Pence made an unscheduled stop during his Asia tour to visit the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea.
What does North Korea say?
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would not tolerate "missile adventures by Pyongyang" but a unilateral use of power by the USA would be "a very risky course".
Meanwhile, China made a plea for a return to negotiations. Monday afternoon, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang called for the resumption of "multi-party negotiations that ended in stalemate in 2009", according to The Associated Press.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who met with Japan's trade minister, Hiroshige Seko, earlier Tuesday, said he hopes to soon begin talks on a free trade agreement with Japan.
Vice President Pence and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso leave the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Still, it was a reminder that we were 30,000 feet in the air heading toward a Korean Peninsula that is even more tense than usual. US Vice President Mike Pence is headed to Asia this weekend, with planned stops in Seoul; Jakarta, Indonesia; Tokyo and Sydney.
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