Pence: US not seeking North Korea negotiations

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.

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, Pool).

The vice president visits the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and make remarks (9:15 p.m. ET), before goint to meet with USA and Japan-based companies.

The vice president will also participate in a listening session, followed by remarks to the USA and Japanese business community.

The U.S. will continue to pursue diplomatic and economic solutions in concert with other nations to end North Korea's ambitions, Pence said. Soon after Trump took office, he pulled the US out of the TPP - which needed all the signatory nations to ratify the deal.

Pence also said the United States would protect freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, where Beijing is entangled in territorial rows with several Southeast Asia nations.

On April 15, the U.S. Navy published a photo showing the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transiting the Sunda Strait between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is undergoing scheduled maintenance at its home port.

However, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, Freeport's third-biggest shareholder and special adviser to US President Donald Trump, has described Jakarta's tactics over the mining contract as "disingenuous and insulting", according to the New York Times.

South Korea's Presidential candidate Moon Jae-in from Democratic Party attends an election campaign rally in Seoul, South Korea, April 17, 2017.

In a separate interview with CNN, the vice president said that "the only thing we need to hear from North Korea is that they are ending and ultimately dismantling their nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program".

Pence said he considers the first 100 days a success, pointing to the administration's efforts to expand jobs and its ability to get Justice Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which had been promoted by former US President Barack Obama and Japan as a way to counter China's influence in a fast-growing region, was written in a way to prevent implementation without the United States. President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 12-country trade agreement after his inauguration in January.

Vice President Mike Pence was in Tokyo on Tuesday, calling for "stronger and more balanced bilateral trade relationships" with countries like Japan and South Korea.

Pence said there are too many entry barriers to American businesses, which harms America's workers and its economic growth. 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. It is his first trip to Asia as vice president.

At present, Pence is on a tour of South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia that is aimed at smoothing some of the rougher edges of Trump's rhetoric.

"Hopefully Pence's visit indicates a change in attitude, at least that they are moving away from the stance that they don't like Islam much", he added.

During their talks on Tuesday, Pence and Aso launched a new "economic dialogue" that will consider ways the countries can strengthen the economic side of their alliance.