TOKYO (AP) — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Japan for talks Tuesday expected to focus largely on trade with America's anchor ally in the region. Concluding a visit to South Korea, Pence told business leaders in Seoul the administration is taking a fresh look at trade agreements as part of its "America First" policy. "We're reviewing all of our trade agreements across the world to ensure that they benefit our economy as much as they benefit our trading partners," Pence told the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea. White House officials said the economic meetings in Tokyo, with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and other officials, are meant to forge a framework for future discussions after the U.S.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in Japan for the second stop of a 10-day Asia tour. His plane touched down Tuesday at the U.S. military's Atsugi base outside Tokyo. The focus of his trip is expected to shift in Japan to trade. North Korea's nuclear and missile development dominated the agenda on his first stop in South Korea. Pence told business leaders before leaving Seoul that the Trump administration is reviewing all trade agreements as part of its "America First" policy. White House officials say the meetings in Tokyo are meant to forge a framework for future discussions after the U.S.
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The clouds of war, it might seem, are gathering around the Korean Peninsula. The North Korean government flaunts an increasingly sophisticated arsenal of intercontinental missiles and launches a midrange version, which apparently fails seconds after takeoff. The U.S. moves an immense warship to the waters off the peninsula in a display of military might. President Donald Trump warns he's ready to "solve North Korea," while North Korea's deputy foreign minister says his country will conduct its next nuclear test whenever it sees fit. And in Pyongyang, where war would mean untold horrors, where neighborhoods could be reduced to rubble and tens of thousands of civilians could be killed, few people seem to care much at all.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Once soft on Russia and hard on China, President Donald Trump rapidly reversed course in the last weeks, concluding there's more business to be done with Beijing than with Moscow. Trump's evolving views on those two world powers have brought the U.S. back into alignment with former President Barack Obama's pattern of "great power" politics. Though Russia critics welcomed Trump's newly hardened tone, there's less enthusiasm from America's allies in Asia, who fear the U.S. could overlook China's more aggressive posture toward its neighbors. It may be that Trump, the businessman-turned-world leader, is discovering China's transactional approach to foreign relations is better suited to achieving his own goals.
MEETOTAMULLA, Sri Lanka (AP) — Rescuers on Monday were digging through heaps of mud and trash that collapsed onto a clutch of homes near a garbage dump outside Sri Lanka's capital, killing at least 30 people and possibly burying dozens more. Hundreds of people had been living in the working-class neighborhood on the fringe of the towering dump in Meetotamulla, a town near Colombo, when a huge mound collapsed Friday night during a celebration for the local new year, damaging at least 150 homes. By Monday morning, authorities had pulled the bodies from beneath the debris, according to a Disaster Management Center report.
PANMUNJOM, South Korea (AP) — The White House displayed a tough and unyielding approach to North Korea and its nuclear ambitions Monday, with President Donald Trump warning that Kim Jong Un has "gotta behave" and Vice President Mike Pence sternly advising Kim not to test America's resolve and military power. Trump, in Washington, and Pence at the tense Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, signaled a forceful U.S. stance on North Korea's recent actions and threats. But no one was predicting what might come next. Behind the heated rhetoric, in fact, Trump's strategy in the region looks somewhat similar to predecessor Barack Obama's — albeit with the added unpredictability of a new president who has shown he's willing to use force.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has spoken with China's foreign policy chief about North Korea. The State Department says Tillerson called Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi (yahng jee-uh-CHEHR') over the weekend from Washington to discuss reducing tensions. Nations have been on alert in recent weeks after a series of North Korean missile tests and fears that Pyongyang may detonate another nuclear weapon. The Trump administration has repeatedly called on China to increase pressure on North Korea to comply with U.N. demands that it halt nuclear and missile tests. Tillerson plans to raise North Korea again when he hosts a meeting of foreign ministers at the U.N.
TOKYO (AP) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that Japan's government is drawing up contingency plans in case a crisis on the Korean Peninsula sends an influx of refugees to Japan. Abe told a parliamentary session that the government is formulating measures including protecting foreigners, landing procedures, building and operating shelters, and screening asylum seekers. Abe's disclosure came in response to a question that had been occasionally asked in the past but is now more realistic than ever with North Korea's missile capability rapidly advancing and tension with the U.S. rising. The government has been also working on evacuation plans for about 60,000 Japanese from South Korea in case of a crisis.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador accused the United States on Monday of turning the Korean Peninsula into "the world's biggest hotspot" and creating "a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment." Kim In Ryong told a news conference that "if the U.S. dares opt for a military action," North Korea "is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S." He said the Trump administration's deployment of the Carl Vinson nuclear carrier task group to waters off the Korean Peninsula again "proves the U.S. reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase of its scenario." Kim stressed that U.S.-South Korean military exercises being staged now are the largest-ever "aggressive war drill" aimed at his country, formally the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean prosecutors on Monday indicted ex-President Park Geun-hye on bribery, extortion, abuse of power and other high-profile corruption charges that could potentially send her to jail for life. It is the latest in a series of humiliations for Park, who was driven from office by massive and peaceful popular protests. Park was impeached in December, officially stripped of power in March and has been in a detention facility near Seoul since being arrested last month on allegations that she extorted from businesses, took bribes and committed other wrongdoing, all in collaboration with a longtime confidante.