Pence in Japan, discusses N. Korea, economic ties

Indo Asian News Service

Tokyo, April 18 (IANS) US Vice President Mike Pence on Friday reached Japan on a two-day visit and is slated to discuss North Korea and economic ties between the two countries.

In a meeting upon the Vice President's arrival, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he supported Washington's stance taken to keep all options open for countering threats posed by North Korea, Efe news reported.

"It is important to seek diplomatic and peaceful efforts to address the issue, but at the same time dialogue for the sake of dialogue has no value," Abe told Pence.

Pence said Washington will assess Japan's complicated situation against Pyongyang's continued missile launches.

US President Donald Trump "is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, and with all our allies in the region, and with China, to achieve a peaceable solution and denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula," said Pence.

"We seek peace always as a country, as does Japan. But as you know peace comes through strength," said Pence, and highlighted the strong security ties the countries share.

Pence arrived in Tokyo's Atsugi air and naval base from the Osan air base in Seoul where he had spent the first three days of his 10-day Asia tour.

Ahead of his arrival, Japanese government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said earlier on Tuesday that Tokyo hopes meetings with Pence will serve to deepen bilateral economic and security ties and will help in coordinating policies to address the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile development programme.

On Wednesday, Pence will visit the Japan Self-Defence Forces base in Yokosuka, where Japan and the US conducted joint military drills and where the American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is stationed.

Pence will also attend a business forum in Tokyo and later travel to Indonesia and Australia to continue the rest of his tour.