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US VP Pence kicks off Japan trade & security talks

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 01:52

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has met Japan's Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso for talks on enhancing economic and commercial relations, which he said the White House were ''impatient'' to see deliver results. As David Pollard reports, Tokyo is the second stop on Pence's 10-day tour of Asia, a trip aimed at emphasising that President Trump wants to boost U.S. trade in the region even though he has abandoned the TPP trade pact.

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It was among his first acts as president .... Signing the US out of the Trans Pacific Partnership a shock to Asian trading partners. Now, there's talk of new solidarity in the face of a threat - in North Korea. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, MIKE PENCE, SAYING: "As President Trump told Prime Minister Abe at the southern White House, so I say on his behalf today to all the people of Japan. In these challenging times, we are with you 100 percent." But alongside security cooperation, the US is keen for a bilateral trade agreement to fill the gap left by TPP. And to shrink a 69 billion dollar trade deficit it has with Japan - as part of a bid to put 'America First'. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, MIKE PENCE, SAYING: "The Prime Minister Abe and Deputy Prime Minister Aso share our goal of a mutually beneficial economic relationship and we look forward to working with them ..." Pence told his hosts the US 'wants results in the near future'. Any US pressure may be unwelcome. Tokyo wary of a two-way deal that could force them to open up sensitive sectors such as agriculture. And though the US has not labelled Japan a currency manipulator - a move that could open up new tensions - analysts still see that as a possible threat. SOUNDBITE (English) CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD FIRST, JEREMY COOK, SAYING: "It's likely happening in China, it's likely happening in South Korea, it would be strange given Japan is on the list of countries under watch for currency manipulation at the Treasury if they didn't use something similar on Japan." For now, the strategy does appear to be working. The two sides agreed to cooperate on correcting 'unfair trade practices', according to Japan's deputy prime minister. He and Pence also scheduling a second round of talks later in the year.

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US VP Pence kicks off Japan trade & security talks

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 01:52