Japan and Australia to deepen ties amid North Korea tension


The United States is not seeking to negotiate with North Korea and it is not in direct talks "at this time" with the rogue Asian nation, Vice President Mike Pence told CNN and the Washington Post Wednesday.

"I think (Pence) more than fully understood what we said", Sakakibara told reporters.

"As we approach the 100-day mark, the American people are going to be able to look back and see the presidency of Donald Trump and the determination and put in practice all the things that we can", he said.

"China expresses serious concern with recent trends about North Korea's nuclear and missile development [.] China is unswerving in its commitment to realizing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, maintaining the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula, and continue to solve matters through dialogue and negotiations."

In several interviews and speeches this week, Pence has described the Trump administration's North Korea strategy as a clean break from the Obama administration's policy of "strategic patience".

North Korea did test a missile on Sunday, but by US and South Korean accounts it failed "within seconds".

"We will work with you toward that end as we reform Korus in the days ahead", Pence said.

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

"When the president says all options are on the table, all options are on the table", said Pence.

Speaking onboard the aircraft carrier Wednesday, Pence also said that more of the U.S.'s most advanced military assets would be deployed to the region, where 47,000 American troops are stationed in Japan and 28,000 in South Korea, under decades-old mutual defense treaties underpinning regional security in East Asia.

He also alluded to tensions in the South China Sea, where China is embroiled in territorial rows with several South-east Asian countries, saying the United States will stoutly defend the freedom of navigation through the waterway. The joint statement said that (1) the USA and Japan would explore bilateral discussions, and (2) Japan will continue to advance progress on its existing initiatives (i.e. TPP).

He said the North Korean regime had for more than a generation sought to develop nuclear weapons and the missiles with which to fire them, impoverishing its people and embittering the region in the process.

Pence said Trump was hopeful China would use its influence in the region to pressure the North to abandon its weapons program. "It was not an intercontinental ballistic missile, it failed on launch, and it shows why we're working so closely right now with the Chinese".

The U.S. livestock industry is a powerful support base for the Republican Party, which in addition to holding the presidency controls both houses of Congress.

Since entering office, Trump has pressed China to use its political and economic leverage over North Korea.

Pence does not think negotiations with North Korea have been handled appropriately over the last few decades, and the Trump administration seems set on having other nations diplomatically pressure the nation into compliance.



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