Pence Praises Toyota, Says Economic Ties With Japan Can Improve

NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan (April 19,2017) - Vice President Mike Pence and his family wave as they depart Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan via Air Force Two April 19, bringing to a close the Vice President's first official visit to Japan since taking office.

Pence will meet with Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo earlier in the day during his first trip to the country. The divisive campaign undermined the image of Indonesia overseas as a generally tolerant Muslim nation.

Yoo stressed that he has not yet scheduled a one-on-one meeting with his US counterpart during the G-20 meeting of economic minsters and central bank governors scheduled to be held in Washington later this week, or with China, which is retaliating against Korea economically for the deployment of a USA missile shield.

Over the past six months, Indonesia has wrestled with mining giant Freeport McMoRan, demanding the company divest 51 per cent of its shares in its Papua-based gold and copper mine, and has demanded that Google Inc settle unpaid taxes of more than US$400 million. In brief comments, Jokowi said they agreed to boost cooperation.

"As the second- and third-largest democracies in the world, our two countries share many common values including freedom, the rule of law, human rights and religious diversity", Pence said.

"If the United States is unwilling to negotiate with North Korea, and the regime is unwilling to abandon its nuclear and missile programs based on pressure alone, the prospect of the United States using military action to prevent North Korea from developing the capability to strike the continental United States becomes more likely. It promotes and protects these values". In addition, some 64 percent of South Korea's agriculture imports from the USA became immediately duty-free, with most of the remaining tariffs and quotas to be phased out over the first ten years.

"In your nation as in mine, religion unifies, it doesn't divide".

"Despite the strong economic ties between the United States and South Korea, we have to be honest about where our trade relationship is falling short", Pence said.

This new stance Pence described, if it becomes formal US government policy, not only breaks from decades of Washington orthodoxy and conventional wisdom; it also may place the United States in a different position than its key Asian allies. A missile launch in the country failed and exploded over the weekend, likely as a result of a concerted US cyber-hacking campaign.

Despite this, Sumpter said that the bilateral trade talks will continue throughout Pence's Asia tour.

Trump's decision to scrap the ambitious 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal championed by former president Barack Obama was a blow to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who expended substantial political capital to get the accord passed at home.

There, Pence will be meeting Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla, as well as celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the 40th anniversary of USA ties with the group.

  • Leroy Wright