Tokyo, November 13: US Vice President Mike Pence met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday to discuss bilateral trade and to touch base on their policies on North Korea as the two sides tried to showcase alliance ahead of key regional summits this week. Pence told Abe as their talks started that he planned to follow up on bilateral free trade talks that Abe and President Donald Trump agreed in September. The trade talks are expected to begin early next year.
Japan has faced demands that it reduce its trade surplus with the U.S. and is also concerned about the impact of Trump's trade war with China. Pence and Abe gave reassurances of their cooperation on North Korea's enuclearization. Pence will leave later Tuesday to attend a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore and an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Papua New Guinea on behalf of President Donald Trump. He said they would also talk about "advancing the goal of the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and that the United States supports Japan's commitment to free and open Indo-Pacific. The two sides were also expected to discuss China's growing regional influence, Japanese officials said. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence Announces Decision to Launch A ‘Space Force’.
Pence said in a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post that America will soon begin negotiations for "a historic trade agreement with Japan." Trump's administration has made trade agreements with South Korea, Mexico and Canada. Pence said in the article that the new trade deals "will put American jobs and American workers first." Pence also said the U.S. will continue to put diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea and urged all Indo-Pacific nations to keep the pressure campaign and sanctions in place until the complete denuclearization of North Korea is achieved.