Japan and Australia to deepen ties amid North Korea tension

The trip so far has been dominated by US and allies' concerns about North Korea's nuclear and missile development efforts. "Just as President Ronald Reagan restored the armed forces in his day, so too, President Donald Trump will make the strongest fighting force in the world even stronger still", Pence said.

However, he also said the USA will "continue to work diligently" with Japan, China and other allies in the region to "bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on" North Korea.

The focus of his trip is expected to shift in Japan to trade. "All of America is proud of you", the vice president said.

The United States is not seeking to negotiate with North Korea and it is not in direct talks "at this time" with the rogue Asian nation, Vice President Mike Pence told CNN and the Washington Post Wednesday.

The Trump administration has said that it is reviewing all options on North Korea, including those involving military action, but Defense Secretary James Mattis is also underscoring the need for a non-military solution.

"As we heard in South Korea and Japan, what we are likely to hear in Indonesia and Australia is the U.S. vice president messaging that despite walking away from a multilateral trade regime, the U.S. recognizes that its economic ties with Asia are central, and that the U.S.is going to find ways to invest in those relationships, notably with trade, and with trying to expand access for U.S. firms in the region", she added.

Trump has recently spoken highly of the Chinese President, whom he met earlier this month at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and later described as a "terrific person".

The American vice president is on a 10-day trip to Asia that has been dominated by the North Korea issue.

China announced in February that it would stop accepting coal from North Korea - which accounted for a third of all official North Korean exports in 2015 - as it had already reached its import limit set by UN-imposed sanctions.

The Navy said earlier that the carrier will arrive in the Korean region next week.

Approval ratings for Trump's performance, according to many recent polls, is at record lows for a new commander in chief, but Pence said he "couldn't be more proud" to be a part of the current administration.

But the strike group was actually on its way to participate in military exercises in the Indian Ocean, some 3,500 miles in the opposite direction. A senior official at the White House blamed the error on miscommunication.

"The point the President was making is that we're ready".

"We will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response", the Vice President said, to applause from the hundreds of U.S. and Japanese troops gathered on the deck.

"I really can't comment on the electronic and technical capabilities of our military", Pence told CNN's Dana Bash aboard the USS Ronald Reagan in Japan.

  • Joey Payne