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Japan says Pacific Rim pact offers best trade deals

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He reassured Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday that the USA stands behind Japan in the face of a nuclear threat from North Korea.

"It can be interpreted as an overall review [of the USA government of its trade negotiations] in regard to the trade barrier report that is expected to be released at the end of June", Yoo Il-ho, who is also finance minister, said Wednesday.

Aso said the focus of both sides is "not only boosting trade and investment between the two countries, but also building high-level and fair rules by Japan and the USA, and expanding them across the Asia-Pacific".

The North Korea situation makes military cooperation particularly crucial, Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada told Australian counterpart Marise Payne when they met late Wednesday ahead of the talks.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Pence also emphasized that the USA would uphold freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea - where China's actions in support of its disputed territorial claims have sparked tensions in recent years.

Pence also took a much tougher line on North Korea, saying the days of broken promises were over, while adding that the USA would counter any attack with an "overwhelming response". Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.

Despite his declaration that the U.S. has its sword ready, some analysts noted that the USS Ronald Reagan is in the middle of scheduled maintenance that will be completed only next month, with 100 pilots from its air wing yet to undergo training for deployment.

On Tuesday the United States and Japan kicked off talks aimed at achieving a new economic relationship - in line with Trump's vow to focus on bilateral trade deals rather than multilateral ones that he says have damaged the US.

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One of the most common refrains from Trump, Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been "the era of strategic patience is over", referring to what was essentially a wait-and-see tactic to dealing with Pyongyang but is notoriously vague, says Neill.

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.

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

"While all options are on the table", Pence said, "President Trump is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, with all our allies in the region, and with China" to resolve the problem.

"As you, President Widodo have said so often, we're looking for a win-win relationship and we're confident that we can find it on an increasing basis", Pence said.

His remarks appeared to allude to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's comments, after meeting with Aso in Tokyo earlier this week, that the U.S. considered the TPP a "thing of the past".

Trump's executive order does not include Indonesia, but the country is home to almost 14,000 refugees seeking resettlement in third countries and activists have said the ban would affect their ability of entering the U.S. North Korea's nuclear and missile development dominated the agenda on his first stop in South Korea.

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