TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence affirmed Tuesday in Tokyo that they will urge China to play a greater role in preventing further provocation by North Korea.
"President Trump is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, with all our allies in the region, and with China, to achieve a peaceable solution and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Pence told Abe at the outset of their working lunch.
Abe hailed Pence's visit as "extremely timely given the severe state of the situation surrounding North Korea." The United States is deploying an aircraft carrier and accompanying vessels to waters near the Korean Peninsula amid indications North Korea is planning another nuclear test.
Abe and Pence affirmed that the threat from North Korea has reached a new level and it is crucial to the peace and stability of the region for Japan and the United States to strengthen their alliance, according to a Japanese official who was present.
The official said Pence, whose president recently held a summit and telephone talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, told Abe the United States believes China fully understands the issue and will take action that will lead to further pressure on North Korea.
Abe told Pence of Japan's appreciation for U.S. President Donald Trump's stance that all options, including military action, are "on the table" to pressure North Korea to cease its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development efforts.
In turn, Pence told Abe the United States understands the severe security situation facing Japan and is behind its ally "100 percent."
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