USA working with allies on N.Korea: Pence

The Latest: Japan says differences with US on economic talks

The Latest: Japan says differences with US on economic talks

United States Vice-President Mike Pence, warning North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programmes, has promised an "overwhelming and effective" response to any attack on the U.S. or its allies.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told business leaders in Seoul on Tuesday the Trump administration would review and reform the five-year-old free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea.

Mr Pence, whose father served in the 1950-53 Korean War, said the United States would stand by its "iron-clad alliance" with South Korea.

His comments were met with applause by the troops. In part, it is meant to take the place of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the regional trade pact that Trump withdrew from shortly after taking office.

"Short of launching a shock and awe campaign which would be overwhelming in its breadth and scale there's not a lot else the U.S. and its allies can do other than tighten the constrictor grip on the North", said Alex Neill, a senior fellow at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Pence made a surprise visit to the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea Monday where he declared the "era of strategic patience" with North Korea to be over.

Pence arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday from South Korea and reassured Japan of USA commitment to reining in North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions in a series of meetings with Japanese leaders, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"North Korea is the most risky and urgent threat to the peace and security of the Asian Pacific", he said.

The American vice president is on a 10-day trip to Asia that has been dominated by the North Korea issue. Echoing Pence this week, he warned: "Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan".

Trump seems confused about who is in charge of North Korea
Kim insisted that North Korea, also called the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), is ready for war with the US. Like much of Russia's state-controlled media, Kiselyov initially praised Trump in the weeks before and after his election.

"We will not rest and will not relent until we obtain the objective of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula", he said. "It's clear that the President is determined not to allow this kind of capability to threaten the United States". The president has signed an executive order for slashing trade deficits, and the White House has indicated its belief that the United States need not be bound by global rules if they undermine America's interests.

The official said Tuesday that Japan still hopes to bring the USA back into a multilateral framework such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

A senior official with the Trump administration said the mistake was due to miscommunication.

Today, more than 50,000 USA troops, and another 50,000 civilians and family members are stationed in Japan, Pence told the audience.

Capital Economics said in a research note on Wednesday a renegotiated FTA would likely mean South Korea opens more of its economy to US companies but would "have a relatively small impact on the economy". The regime released a video clip showing North Korean missiles passing over the Pacific and engulfing an American city in flames.

North Korea did test a missile on Sunday, but by USA and South Korean accounts it failed "within seconds".

While the nuclear test has yet to happen, Pence pushed the theme of tough talk after Sunday's failed missile launch. The adviser spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the administration's initial understanding of the launch.

"Statistics show the United States has achieved much through the free trade agreement", said Kim Kwang-doo, the head of frontrunner Moon Jae-in's campaign advisory group, told Reuters in an interview.

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