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Japan Backs U.S. End to Strategic Patience; VP Pence News Conference with Japanese Dept. PM. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired April 18, 2017 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:09] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: the vice president arrives in Tokyo and gets a big endorsement on a big policy shift on North Korea. A news conference getting under way any moment. We have live coverage.

DAVID BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And the White House facing big pushback on transparency, taxes, visitor laws. Why won't the White House make it public?

Good morning and thanks for getting an EARLY START with us. I'm Dave Briggs.

KOSIK: Good morning.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

KOSIK: I'm Alison Kosik. It's Tuesday, April the 18th. Happy Tax Day.

BRIGGS: Oh, it is.

KOSIK: Did you get yours in?

BRIGGS: Well, beat the deadline. You?

KOSIK: Good for you. Yes, actually last week. So, almost up to the limit.

BRIGGS: We're ahead of the curve. Well done.

KOSIK: And once again, good morning.

Up first, Vice President Mike Pence arriving overnight in Tokyo, bringing his message of U.S. resolve against North Korea to the Japanese. And in a welcome move, Japanese returned the favor. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the vice president he supports President Trump's stance. That strategic patience in North Korea has run out and all options are on the table.

BRIGGS: Abe adding, "Dialogue for the sake of dialogue with North Korea is a waste and international pressure has to be applied".

This comes a day after Pence said in South Korea, the era of strategic patience is over. Pence and Japan's deputy prime minister about to hold a news conference in Tokyo. We'll bring you that when it starts live.

For now, let's bring in CNN's Alexandra live in Tokyo, outside the prime minister's office for more on Pence's visit.

Good morning to you, Alexandra.

I assume we expect more along the lines of what we heard from Pence standing with Shinzo Abe. What did they discuss?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Dave. That's what you should probably hear when we have this press conference coming up shortly. This has been another reaffirmation of the strength of the alliance between Japan and the U.S. This is the third trip from a high level Trump administration official. You've got the vice president here right now. His visit comes on the heels of the visit of the secretary of state, and before that, the secretary of defense.

All of them trying to offer their assurances to Japan that the U.S. stands shoulder to shoulder as so they often to put it when it comes to confronting the North Korean nuclear threat. There was an endorsement certainly of the Trump administration's recent rhetoric that came from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as he met with Vice President Mike Pence today, saying that the Japanese value this assessment from the White House that all options must be on the table. However, he did, of course, go on to reaffirm the fact that it is Japan's direct hope that this will be solved in a peaceful way through diplomatic negotiations.

However, he did go on to say that pressure will need to be applied to North Korea for that kind of outcome.

BRIGGS: Well, we see Mike Pence stepping to the podium with the deputy prime minister of Japan. We're going to take some of this live and hear their comments and discuss them in just a few moments.

ANNOUNCER (through translator): For the very first time. First of all, Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence. (INAUDIBLE) making opening remarks. Afterwards, we'll take up a Q&A session.

Now, Deputy Prime Minister Aso, please.

TARO ASO, JAPANESE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I'm delighted to welcome Vice President Pence to Japan in April when some cherry blossoms are still remaining. Perhaps it reminded you of the big celebration of cherry blossom festival which was held in Washington last month. So, I hope you can still have some good impression about the cherry blossom.

Vice President Pence, in his governor days in the state of Indiana, visited Japan many times over and attracted many Japanese businesses to Indiana. He had really always worked very hard to strengthen Japan-U.S. relationship. Very soon after my visit to the United States where I had a very

useful meeting with our dear, long-standing friend of Japan in February, I am very proud to say today that the Japan-U.S. economic dialogue was kicked off, opening up a new page for our bilateral relations. I feel very proud about it.

Security and economy are two wheels supporting Japan-U.S. alliance. For the stability of the Asia-Pacific region, economic prosperity is indispensable.

At the dialogue today, from the perspective of further deepening the win-win economic relations between the Japan and the United States, Vice President Pence and I were able to have a good discussion.

[04:05:11] Going forward, in the dialogue, we concurred to discuss three pillars, namely strategy on trade and investment rule and issues, corporation and economic and structural policy area, sector or corporation. Those three pillars will be discussed.

As for the common strategy for trade and investment rules and issues, at the Japan-U.S. summit meeting held awhile ago, two leaders confirmed that they are fully committed to strengthening the relationship bilaterally as well as in the region, based on the free and fair trade rules.

Based on this common recognition, Japan and U.S. relationship will further be strengthened and under our leadership will build a high level trade and investment standards and spread that to the Asia- Pacific region that is free and fair trade rules.

To rectify our fair trading practices in the region, Japan and the United States agree to further our mutual cooperation. Being mindful of WTO's dispute settlement procedures. Japan will push for Japan- U.S. authorities to work ever more closely, including minister of foreign affairs, dispute settlement section, as well as general counsel office, which was newly formed within (INAUDIBLE).

On the cooperation, on economic and structural policy area, Japan and U.S. will actively use three-pronged approach of fiscal monetary and structural policy agreed at the G-7 and will discuss the way to lead a balanced and strong growth.

Views will be exchanged on international economic and financial developments. And we'll work closely. On sectoral cooperation, infrastructure such as high-speed rail and energy, bare years seem where Japan-U.S. cooperation will be taken up. And Japan-U.S. economic relationship will be deepened, on a multifaceted front, along with the three pillars, of Japan-U.S. relations. We'll leap forward significantly in Japan and U.S. together will lead strongly, economic growth of Asian Pacific region as well as the rest of the world.

Also, Vice President Pence and I agreed to hold a second dialogue meeting by tend of this year at a mutually convenient time, to further deepen Japan-U.S. win-win economic relations and to build a few history of our bilateral relations going forward. Vice President Pence and I will continue to have constructive dialogue. As far as looking at the Japan-U.S. relationship, we started with a

fiction, but for the very first time, it's no longer a fiction. But it's based on cooperation now. This is a very important juncture where we're opening up a new page. Thank you so much.

ANNOUNCER: Vice President Pence, please?


To Deputy Prime Minister Aso, thank you. Thank you for your great hospitality and your friendship, and the kindness that you have shown us in the effort that begins today. I thank you for your tireless work to strengthen the bond between your nation and mine.

It is an honor to be back in Japan. On my very first visit to the Asia Pacific, as vice president of the United States, I had to come to Japan.

I bring greetings from the president of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. And earlier today, on the president's behalf, I had the honor to meet with Prime Minister Abe, to reaffirm the abiding friendship and enduring alliance between Japan and the United States. The United States-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace, prosperity, and freedom in the Asia-Pacific.

[04:10:06] And under President Trump, America is committed to strengthening our alliance and deepening our friendship for the benefit of our people and for the benefit of the world. Already, our bond is growing stronger. Prime Minister Abe was one of the very first world leaders, who President Trump hosted at the White House. They continued their meeting at the southern White House.

And I can attest personally that they have forged a good personal relationship, which is already benefiting both of our nations. Their relationship truly demonstrates the extraordinary respect that President Trump has for our critically important ally, Japan. Today, as we have for more than half a century, the United States and Japan stand united in defense of democracy and the rule of law, not only in this region, but all across the world.

Tomorrow, I will speak from the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan at Yokosuka naval base, a tangible sign of our unity with Japan, and the United States' unyielding commitment to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific.

Under President Trump, the United States will continue to work Japan, with all our allies in the region, including South Korea, to confront the most ominous threat posed to this part of the world -- the regime in North Korea.

And let me be clear: our commitment is unwavering and our resolve could not be stronger. 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. In the face of provocations across the Sea of Japan, people of this country should know that we stand with you, in the defense of your security and prosperity, now and always.

Now, the United States will continue to work with Japan, our allies across the region, and China, to bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear until North Korea abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. But all options are on the table.

Nevertheless, President Trump and I have great confidence that together with Japan and our allies in the region, we will protect the peace and security of this part of the world. And, achieve our shared goal of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. Security is the foundation of our prosperity, but promoting prosperity is actually the main reason that I have the privilege of meeting today with your deputy prime minister.

At the direction of President Trump and Prime Minister Abe, today, Deputy Prime Minister Aso and I have the great privilege to formally launch the U.S.-Japan economic dialogue. This dialogue presents the United States and Japan with the opportunity to deepen our bilateral economic ties and to foster jobs, prosperity and growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

We're building on a strong foundation, as the prime minster said. Our economies have been intertwined for generations. And this is a new day and a new chapter in relations between the United States and Japan.

Every day, though, our nations already exchange goods and services that improve people's lives and help businesses on both sides of the Pacific succeed. Japan is the United States' fourth largest goods trading partner and our fourth largest goods export market. And Japan is one of America's leading investors. Japanese foreign direct investment in the United States now totals more than $400 billion, the second most of any nation.

You know, I saw that first hand back in my old job when I was governor of Indiana, how trade and investment between our countries can be beneficial to us all. In 2013, and again in 2015, I led a group of Indiana businesses and community leaders here to Japan to foster closer economic ties, create jobs and spur opportunity and growth. Today, the U.S.-Japan economic dialogue seeks the very same objectives for both of our countries in full. It signifies President Trump's commitment to strengthening our economic relationship with Japan using a bilateral approach.

Today's meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Aso was an opportunity for us to broadly discuss how we view the dialogue, structure, and goals. The prime minister and I agreed that the dialogue will focus on three key policy pillars, as he just discussed.

The first is a, quote, "common strategy on trade" and investment rules and issues. Under President Trump's leadership, the United States seeks stronger and more balanced bilateral trade relationships with every country, including Japan.

[04:15:08] Our goal is simple, we seek trade that is free and we seek trade that is fair. This requires breaking down barriers. Leveling the playing field so that American companies and exporters can enjoy high levels of market access.

The second pillar involves economic and structural policies with a focus on fiscal and monetary issues. President Trump believes that both the United States and Japan can enact pro-growth and fiscally sustainable monetary and budgetary policies, a key to both of our long-term economic success.

The final pillar is what we call sectoral cooperation. The president and I are confident that we can find new ways to expand our economic ties with Japan in different sectors and different industries. American and Japanese businesses have much to offer each other by working together. We can ensure that our two nation's economic leadership grows even stronger in the years ahead to the benefit of all of our people.

This is an important day for the partnership between the United States and Japan. And I'm deeply humbled to be a part of it. U.S.-Japan economic dialogue will provide us with a new forum to address the economic issues crucial to our long-term success. The relevant U.S. agencies, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Treasury, and the U.S. Trade Representatives Office will lead discussions for each of the three pillars focusing on concrete economic results in the near term and reporting back to my office.

The deputy prime minister and I look forward to receiving input on the progress and accomplishment from these agencies over the coming months. And we have agreed to meet again by the end of the year to discuss the progress in each area. President Trump and I are confident that working with Prime Minister Abe and Deputy Prime Minister Aso, we will open a new chapter of opportunity and agreement for both our people.

The president is working tirelessly to create forward momentum, to deepen our bilateral economic partnership with Japan. And today's announcement is a reflection of that.

President Trump and I are grateful that Prime Minister Abe and Deputy Prime Minister Aso share our role of a mutually beneficial economic relationship. And we look forward to working with them to achieve our vision of an equal partnership that creates jobs and prosperity and growth in the United States and Japan on an equal basis.

We have before us an historic opportunity. And today, I say with confidence, based on our first discussions, we will seize this opportunity. We will take this moment to strengthen the ties of commerce and friendship that exist between our people and I believe we will usher in a new era of prosperity for ourselves and for future generations.

There is a closeness between our people that is best described with a Japanese word. It does not have a corollary in the English language. But I learned it awhile ago. As governor of Indiana, I had the opportunity to understand and appreciate the more than 250 companies that decided to make Indiana home.

The word is kizuna. And it is a reflection of a close relationship, a relationship of understanding and of mutual respect. I can't help but feel today that we're renewing that relationship on that foundation, as we initiate this important U.S.-Japan economic dialogue.

So, thank you, again, Mr. Deputy Prime Minister, for hosting me here today. I look forward to this work with great anticipation.

ANNOUNCER: We would like to hear questions from the floor. Let us start with the Japanese media, to be followed with U.S. media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Let's take a question first of all from the Japanese press. Please raise your hand. Wait for my recognition. State your name and affiliation before asking a question.

Yes, please?

REPORTER: I'm Hara from NHK. I have both questions to Mr. Aso and Vice President Pence.

A Trump administration declared they were (INAUDIBLE) from TPP and within Japan great attention shown to what is going to be the U.S. trade policy going forward. The U.S. nominee said in the agricultural area, trading and negotiation, Japan will be the first target.

So, what will be the trade and negotiation going forward between Japan and the U.S.? What is the outlook? Are you looking for concluding Japan-U.S. FDA in the end?

ASO: Thank you.

Now, can I answer you question first?

[04:20:01] Well, at the economic dialogue this time, as a common strategy on trade and investment rules and issues, free and fair rule- based trade and investment is an indispensable value and action principle for realizing the growth and prosperity not only for Japan and the United States but for the rest of the global economy as well.

And on this course, once again, Vice President Pence and I were able to confirm this. And based on that, having a good understanding about the situations under way in Asia-Pacific, it's important that Japan- U.S. should lead the rule-making process in the region. I think it's very important and we have been discussing that concretely, not only to strengthen trade and investment flow bilaterally, but also Japan and U.S. can play pivotal role in spreading high-level fair rules over Asia and the Pacific region.

We would like to strengthen economic aspect of Japan-U.S. alliance. And we have been discussing that. And looking at Japan-U.S. economic relationship, it used to be described as being an economic friction. We started with a word friction. And friction used to be the symbol of our bilateral relationship.

No longer. We're now in the era of cooperation between the two countries. It's not a matter of which side say what to the other side. From the big picture and strategic point of view, we would like to seek the best shape and forum of bilateral framework and find significance and have a good constructive discussion. And I think we were able to mark a first step toward that. Thank you.

PENCE: Well, thank you for your comments, Mr. Deputy Prime Minister.

In response to the question, let me say with great respect to those who worked on the Trans Pacific Partnership in the past, the TPP is a thing of the past for the United States of America. The Trump administration has made a decision and taken steps to formally withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership. That will be our policy going forward.

But today, I think, gives evidence of the fact that the United States of America is determined to reach out to our partners, here in the Asia Pacific and around the world, to at least begin to explore the possibility of expanded economic opportunities including trade, on a bilateral basis. President Trump truly does believe that it's in the interest of the United States of America to negotiate trade agreements on a bilateral basis. That creates a framework within which countries can better assess whether the deal itself is a -- what we call a win- win arrangement.

But today, I think what the deputy prime minister has said so eloquently is that today, we're beginning a process of economic dialogue, the end of which may result in bilateral trade negotiations in the future. We're beginning that conversation today, beginning to identify areas that we can enhance and strengthen, the economic interaction between our two nations.

And, at some point in the future, there may be a decision made. Between our nations to take what we have learned in this dialogue and commence formal negotiations for free trade agreement. But I'll leave that to the future. But tell you that these discussions are very much a reflection of the president's view that negotiating at arm's length on a bilateral basis with nations is the best path forward for the United States, the best path forward for the nations with whom we enter into such agreements.

And I think in the days ahead, you'll continue to see the United States work on a bilateral basis with countries around the world to expand jobs and opportunity for our people and prosperity of the world at large.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Now the question from U.S. media. Let me defer to Mr. Mark (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. The question from Josh Rogin with "The Washington Post."

JOSH ROGIN, WASHINGTON POST: Thank you very much.

Vice President Pence, you have said that the United States will increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea.

[04:25:04] Today, we heard Prime Minister Abe say that while he agrees with that, we shouldn't have dialogue for dialogue's sake. Japan also places paramount importance on the need to seek a diplomatic effort to achieve a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

My question is, what exactly must North Korea do? What are the conditions for beginning that dialogue? And what form should that dialogue take?

And for Deputy Prime Minister Aso, President Trump often called on Japan to share more of the burden for common defense and pay more for U.S. security presence here in Japan. What specifically Japan prepared to do to respond to President Trump's call?


PENCE: Thank you, Josh.

PENCE: Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has been the long standing policy of the United States of America, of South Korea, of Japan, of China. And -- it's been the longstanding policy of nations across the world.

For more than a generation, we have seen the very failure of dialogue, writ large. First, we remember the agreed framework of the 1990s. Then, we remembered the Six-Party Talks.

And with good faith efforts by nations around the world, again and again, North Korea met those efforts at resolution with broken promises and more provocations. That's why we've said the era of strategic patience is over. And President Trump has made it very clear. The policy of the United States of America will be to reach out to our allies in the region here in Japan, where I just had a productive conversation with Prime Minister Abe on the this topic. Yesterday, in South Korea, where I met with officials in the national assembly and the acting President Hwang.

President Trump recently met with President Xi. The president of China reaffirmed China's commitment to a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

It is our belief that by bringing together the family of nations. With diplomatic and economic pressure, we have a chance -- we have a chance to achieve our objective of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

Now, all options are on the table. And there they will remain. But President Trump and I and our administration believes the most productive pathway forward is dialogue among the family of nations that can isolate and pressure North Korea into abandoning permanently and dismantling its nuclear weapons program and its ballistic missile program.

As Prime Minister Abe said today in our brief conversation, dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless. It is necessary for us to exercise pressure. And the United States of America believes the time has come for the international community to use both diplomatic and economic pressure to bring North Korea to a place that it has avoided successfully now for more than a generation.

And we will not rest and we will not relent until we achieve the objective of a denuclearized Korean peninsula.

ASO: Washington Post? I hope my English is still --

BRIGGS: All right. So, lots to unpack there as the vice president, Mike Pence, speaks alongside the deputy prime minister of Japan, Taro Aso. If you're just joining us, 4:28 Eastern Time. Dave Briggs alongside Alison Kosik.

Let's get to a lot what was said there. Mike Pence characterized relationship between the U.S. and China as, quote, kizuna, a term that has no translation but talks about the close relationship. He touched on the North Korean nuclear threat, saying, we will achieve our goal of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

But I think the news came in regard to the TPP and financial ties to Japan, Pence saying that is a thing of the past. We will persuade bilateral trade deal with Japan and other nations in the region.

KOSIK: So not such a huge shocker. We knew that TPP was going to be a thing of the past. But TPP is something that Shinzo Abe has supported.

So, let's bring in our Alexandra Field to get a reaction that.

Alexandra, I know that once again, Mr. Abe supported the TPP but, Vice President Pence went ahead and talked about how this economic dialogue is going to be opening up with Japan now. How can we see those economic ties changed?