US VP Mike Pence meets Indonesian president on Asia tour

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Pence told business leaders before leaving Seoul that the Trump administration is reviewing all trade agreements as part of its "America First" policy.

Asked if he saw a path toward an FTA, Ross told reporters: "It's a little bit early to say just what form things will take, but we are certainly eager to increase our trade relationship with Japan and to do so in the form of an agreement".

"China expresses serious concern with recent trends about North Korea's nuclear and missile development", he said.

He said the USA would look for changes to make it a mutually beneficial trade deal "as we reform KORUS in the days ahead".

Indonesia is on President Donald Trump's trade hit list, and US company Freeport-McMoran Inc., which operates the world's largest copper mine in the Indonesian province of Papua, is in a protracted dispute with the Indonesian government. However, an official told AP on condition of anonymity that the missile was a Scud variety which the U.S. calls a KN-17. He called North Korea the most urgent and risky threat to the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region.

"We're already seeing our allies in South Korea and Japan and the wider world standing behind us, but China is taking unprecedented steps to economically isolate North Korea, and given the fact that China represents more than 80 percent of the exports from North Korea this is enormously important", he said.

Japan has tried to convey to the USA the importance it places on the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade agreement, but Pence said at the meeting that the TPP is "a thing of the past".

Pence's speech on the aircraft carrier followed meetings Tuesday in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where he noted that "all options are on the table".

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"The shield stands guard and the sword stands ready", he said.

The vice president also said the US would promote peaceful dialogue and defend human rights, "because the dignity and worth of every person is an eternal value of the United States". We hope Japan will persevere in calling for the U.S.to return to the TPP, which would contribute to growth in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

Indonesia, where most practice a moderate form of Islam, has always been held up as an example of a successful Muslim democracy where followers of the faith live largely peacefully alongside religious minorities.

Pence, joined by his wife and daughters, later went on a tour of Jakarta's Istiqlal mosque, posing for pictures in the massive empty courtyard and walking through the five-storey prayer hall, big enough to hold 200,000 people.

Both leaders agreed that China must take on a larger role in dealing with North Korea, Japanese officials said. The country's United Nations envoy, Kim In Ryong, said this week that the USA had pushed the Korean Peninsula to the "brink of war".

The focus of his trip is expected to shift in Japan to trade.

Speaking aboard the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier docked at the U.S. Navy's Yokosuka base, Pence said a diligent and collaborative approach to deescalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula was the way forward. He revealed that this was done intentionally to send a message to North Korea.

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