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Pence visits Japan, turning focus to trade with key ally

North Korea Deputy United Nations Ambassador Kim In Ryong speaks during a news briefing, Monday, April 17, 2017, at U.N. headquarters.

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, Pool). While the North did not conduct a nuclear test, the specter of a potential test and an escalated US response has trailed Pence as he undertakes his Asian tour.

On Monday, Mr Pence travelled to the tense Demilitarised Zone dividing North and South Korea, where he warned North Korea's leaders that after years of testing the United States and South Korea with its nuclear ambitions, "the era of strategic patience is over".

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.

The official said Tuesday that Japan still hopes to bring the US back into a multilateral framework such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Soon after Trump took office, he pulled the USA out of the TPP - which needed all the signatory nations to ratify the deal.

A Japanese official told reporters after the meeting that the two agreed that the threat posed by North Korea has reached a new stage and that Japan and the US need to be in close cooperation.

"It will instead seek a bilateral deal with Japan which it hopes will give U.S. companies better access to its market". "China's trying to help us". As the brown bomber jacket-clad vice president was briefed near the military demarcation line, two North Korean soldiers watched from a short distance away, one taking multiple photographs of the American visitor.

The maneuvers came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson embarked upon his first Asian trip, landing in Japan on March 15.

"China is also making clear that it is committed to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and that it will do its utmost", she added. US President Donald Trump has said that will not happen, and stepped up pressure on the isolated North.

In talks with Aso, Pence was expected "to push for greater access to Japan's markets for U.S. companies, and for more Japanese investment in the U.S.", Anthony says.

"The TPP is a thing of the past for the United States of America".

Three days later, February 5, the USA and Japan successfully downed a test medium-range ballistic missile with a new interceptor launched from a guided-missile destroyer.

But the meetings could indicate how forcefully the USA will pressure Japan to further open its farm and automotive sectors.

The new forum for trade talks was launched by Trump and Abe during the Japanese leader's visit to the U.S.in February.

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. The discussions are to focus on economic and structural policy and trade and investment strategies aimed at strengthening both countries' economies.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence shake hands prior to a luncheon hosted by Abe at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

Pence reassured Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday that the US considers its alliance with Japan to be a cornerstone of security in the region.

We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live with increasing provocations from across the Sea of Japan.

"We are with you 100 percent", he said, adding that the U.S.

"Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan", Pence said at a press conference.

This is the vice-president's first visit to South Korea - part of an Asia swing that also includes stops in Japan.

The other called for a freeze on U.S.

In Washington, Trump told CNN at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll that North Korea has "gotta behave".