US VP Mike Pence meets Indonesian president on Asia tour

Aboard the USS Ronald Reagan at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, Mike Pence reaffirmed the US commitment to defend its East Asian allies from North Korea.

(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man). U.S. Vice President Mike Pence waves before leaving for Japan, at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

But in an interview with me on Wednesday afternoon, he adopted a harder line: The Trump administration, he said, demands that North Korea abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs without any promise of direct negotiations with the United States.

Pence declined to comment when asked if the USA used cyberattacks to thwart the North's latest missile launches.

"Hopefully Pence's visit indicates a change in attitude, at least that they are moving away from the stance that they don't like Islam much", he added.

Pence, an evangelical Christian, has sought to use his trip to soften some of the harsher edges of rhetoric about the Muslim world used by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has frequently railed against "radical Islamic terrorism".

"The policy of President Trump is to marshal the support of our allies in the region - Japan, South Korea, nations around the world, and China", he said.

Pence told the service members they are, "the best of us, heroes all".

North Korea on Thursday accused the United States of escalating tension in the Korean peninsula by sending Vice President Mike Pence to Seoul, where he warned Pyongyang not to test the resolve of President Donald Trump's government.

Russia: Talks with U.S. won't lead to immediate action
Peskov also said Putin had given Tillerson his views on the situation in Syria, and how it was likely to develop. He said earlier he would ask The Hague and the global community to investigate the allegations.

Trump's Indonesian business partner, billionaire Hary Tanoe, is an aspiring politician who has said he might run for president in 2019.

"Under President Trump's leadership the United States seeks trade relationships that are both free and fair".

Pence has repeated almost verbatim statements from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the US's strategic patience ending with North Korea, and other military threats by other administration officials.

"I thought it was important that we went outside", Pence said.

In Seoul, US Vice President Mike Pence said that talks between the two nations will look to "level the playing field", to address the growing US trade deficit under the deal.

The vice president is on a 10-day tour of Asia.

Pence spoke of the U.S. commitment to article 5 of the U.S. -Japan Security Treaty, mentioning specifically U.S. defense of Japan's claim to the Senkaku Islands.

Pence said the USA would work with allies and others in the region to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on the regime in Pyongyang until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The VP noted the Trump administration will "work diligently" with allies, including Japan and China, in order to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang. Indonesia is one of 16 countries under review for having a trade surplus with the United States. For more than two decades, from the Agreed Framework of 1994, the Six-Party Talks from year 2003 to '09, to the strategic patience of the recent past, the United States and our allies have worked to tirelessly to peacefully dismantle North Korea's nuclear program and alleviate the suffering of its people.

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