Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Pence, in Korea, expresses concern about KORUS, trade deficit

Pence, in Korea, expresses concern about KORUS, trade deficit

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that Washington will review and reform the free trade agreement with South Korea, citing too many barriers to U.S. businesses.

Vice President Mike Pence is meeting Indonesia's president and other top officials in Jakarta on Thursday with trade and commercial disputes expected to be on the agenda.

"Most concerning is the fact that the USA trade deficit with South Korea has more than doubled since the KORUS came into effect". President Donald Trump pulled the USA out of the 12-country trade agreement after his inauguration in January.

But Pence foreshadowed some reworking of the commercial and economic relationship saying that USA exporters should face a level playing field. He said that the dialogue could lead to formal talks on a U.S. -Japan trade agreement, but that he would leave that decision to the future.

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

After meeting with Indonesia's President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, he says Indonesia and the US are both democracies and share the same values.

Pence reiterated that after years of North Korea testing the USA and its neighbors in East Asia with its nuclear ambitions, the US "era of strategic patience is over".

Japan and the US have outlined a path forward for economic talks between the countries.

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He also said, "We are with you 100 percent", adding that the USA always seeks peace. In that time span, North Korea has engaged in at least five missile tests, the most recent of which resulted in failure this past weekend.

Pence was having lunch with Abe at the prime minister's official residence after arriving in Japan earlier in the day for the second stop of a 10-day Asia tour.

His plane touched down Tuesday at the US military's Atsugi base outside Tokyo.

Both sides said they do not expect the talks in Tokyo this week to delve into sector-by-sector talks on trade.

Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged Wednesday that some of the Trump administration's promises have not yet come to fruition, but he is confident that efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will be fruitful.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop urged China on Thursday to do more to help out in the worldwide effort to pressure and persuade North Korea to stop escalating nuclear and missile threat.

White House officials say the meetings in Tokyo are meant to forge a framework for future discussions after the USA withdrew from a Pacific Rim trade pact.

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