US carrier heading toward Korean Peninsula

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 21, 2017

As he stood aboard the aircraft carrier, Pence said President Donald J. Trump sent him to thank USA and Japanese service members who have "stood up and stepped forward to protect our countries, our values and our very way of life".

Speaking aboard the USS Ronald Reagan at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan Wednesday, Pence reiterated the U.S. and its allies were prepared to respond to potential North Korean attack with "overwhelming" force.

Japanese officials are indicating Tokyo intends to pursue the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact despite the USA withdrawal from the agreement.

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".

Pence also said that North Korea's latest failed missile launch was a reckless act of provocation, and assured Asian allies that the Washington is ready to work to achieve a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The vice president's office says he will be touring the largest mosque in Indonesia and participating in a dialogue with interfaith religious leaders.

Pence's first engagement in Indonesia was morning tea with Jokowi at the presidential palace.

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

Pence signed baseballs for players and was presented with two jerseys at Wednesday's gathering with dozens of young ballplayers.

Speaking at an American Chamber of Commerce meeting in Seoul, Pence said, "Our businesses continue to face too many barriers to entry which tilts the playing field against the American workers and American growth". He says the Trump administration's plans to simplify the USA tax code and cut the corporate tax rate will "benefit every business represented here today".

The U.S. military's Pacific Command announced on April 18 that the strike group had completed a shorter-than-initially scheduled training with Australia off its northwest coast.

Yesterday China expressed "serious concern" at North Korea's nuclear development.

Pence once again said the era of "strategic patience" is over, referring to a policy attributed to some Obama administration officials in dealing with the communist state.

He also said that misinformation on a Navy strike group's whereabouts is not intentional.

Pence reiterated the commitment to defend USA allies in the region from North Korea - which he called "the most risky and urgent threat to the peace and security of the Asia Pacific" during remarks to US and Japanese troops aboard the USS Ronald Reagan at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan.

"As we approach the 100-day mark, the American people are going to be able to look back and see the presidency of Donald Trump and the determination and put in practice all the things that we can", he said.

After his talks with Widodo, Pence also said the U.S. was committed to building a stronger defence partnership to combat terrorism, and guaranteeing freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where Indonesian and Chinese vessels have recently clashed.

"But at every step of the way, North Korea answered with overtures of willful deception, with broken promises and nuclear and missile tests", Pence said.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

In early January, while still president-elect, Trump in a tweet threatened Toyota with tariffs over a planned new vehicle plant in Mexico.

"America has played a certain role in Asia since 1945. that role has in the end of the day been a stabilizer", Delury said.

Pence also spoke about his visit to the demilitarized zone, where he stood outside the Freedom House on the South Korean side of the border and stared into North Korea.

"North Korea would do well not to test his resolve - or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region", he further remarked.

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