Mike Pence reassures Japan of United States resolve on North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. REUTERS  KCNA

US Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday the Donald Trump administration is to "review and reform" the free trade pact with South Korea, citing growing trade deficits and "too many barriers" for American firms.

Trump said he was working with the Chinese president to confront North Korea's attempts to develop a missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, saying Xi "understands it's a big problem".

Earlier Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence said during a visit to Japan that what the USA and other countries are concerned about are the "reckless and irresponsible actions of the regime in Pyongyang".

In an interview with Sputnik, Liu Zhiqin, an expert with the financial research institute at the People's University of China, said that the thriving Chinese economy will not be affected by the ongoing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

A recent United States Trade Representative (USTR) Trade Policy Agenda report criticized the USA trade deficit with South Korea saying, "This is not the outcome the American people expected from that agreement".

Abe stressed the importance of a peaceful outcome but acknowledged a need to apply pressure so that Pyongyang would become open to dialogue. President Donald Trump pulled the USA out of the 12-country trade agreement after his inauguration in January.

But at the same time, McMaster said on "This Week" on ABC that "it's time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully".

North Korea's senior diplomat said on Monday that the North will be conducting more missile tests on a "weekly, monthly and yearly basis", after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence warned Pyongyang not to test Washington's resolve.

The Trump administration wants to attract more foreign direct investment, hoping to attract some with a $1 trillion plan to rebuild US roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

More news: Russia, US in spat over United Nations condemnation of N. Korea

North Korea's deputy representative to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, accused the United States on Monday of creating "a situation where nuclear war could break out an any time" and said the North's next nuclear test would take place "at a time and at a place where our headquarters deems necessary".

China is showing signs of cooperation toward a firmer stance against North Korea, such as by halting regular flights between the two countries' capitals. "In the middle of him talking with North Korea, I'm going to hit them with currency manipulation", he said.

Some economists have criticized the Trump administration's focus on trade deficits as a way of viewing USA economic ties with the rest of the world. While no immediate announcements are expected from Tokyo, the White House expects a "handful" of investment announcements while Pence is in Australia this weekend, the adviser said.

North Korea's Ambassador to the United Nations Kim In Ryong said DPRK is "ready to react to any mode of war" desired by the U.S. and accuses the USA of using "gangster-like" logic.

Both sides said they do not expect the talks in Tokyo this week to delve into sector-by-sector talks on trade. "Most concerning is the fact that the US trade deficit with South Korea has more than doubled since the KORUS FTA came into effect".

Susan Thornton, acting US assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and China's top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, agreed in a phone call on Sunday on the need for strict enforcement of United Nations resolutions.

The loss of USA participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a blow to Japan following strenuous negotiations, especially over opening its long-protected farm sector to more imports, especially of dairy and meat products.

South Korea's trade surplus with the USA was $4.4 billion in the first three months of this year, down from $6.6 billion during the same period in 2016, according to Korea customs office data.

Pence developed ties with Japanese business and political leaders as governor of IN, a state that is home to Subaru (9778.T), Honda (7267.T) and Toyota (7203.T) plants, and about 260 Japanese companies IN total employing about 60,000 residents. South Korea is on a list of countries Trump has ordered probed for potential trade abuse, a process he said is aimed at cracking down on "foreign importers that cheat".

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