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Pence, Abe reaffirm need to keep N. Korea sanctions, discuss trade talks

US Vice-President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday reaffirmed the need to keep sanctions on North Korea to achieve its denuclearization. Washington will continue to put diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea and urged all Indo-Pacific nations to maintain pressure and sanctions until the complete denuclearization of North Korea is achieved, Pence said in Tokyo on Tuesday. He stressed that the US-Japan alliance is a “cornerstone” of the region’s peace and prosperity, AP reported. “Japan is an indispensable trade partner for the US,” he said, adding, however, that the US has had a trade imbalance with Japan “for too long.” Keeping up pressure on Japan to cut its trade surplus with the US, Pence said American goods and services too often faced barriers in Japan and a bilateral trade agreement offered the best way forward, Reuters said.