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Vice President Mike Pence Delivered Remarks at an America First Policies Event – The White House – 3/9/2018 (Audio)

Live Feed – Vice President Pence Delivers Keynote Address at the Christians United for Israel Washington Summit – Audio 7/17/2017


VP Mike Pence – Keynote Speaker at the 13th Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast – 6/10/2017


Vice President Mike Pence brought greetings from our President Donald J. Trump.

Remarks by the Vice President at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast – 6/6/2017

Washington Marriott Marquis
Washington, D.C.  

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you all.  To Carl Anderson, to Archbishop Broglio, Mother Olga, Bishop Dorsonville, Secretary Nicholson, distinguished members of Congress, and honored guests, I am so honored to join you for the 13th Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.  Thank you all for being here.  (Applause.) 

And it’s early in the day, but I promise you, he starts early.  (Laughter.)  And I bring greetings from my friend, a man who appreciates the extraordinary contributions of Catholic Americans, the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.) 

Before I go much further, first and foremost, let me begin this morning by expressing the sorrow of our entire administration and all the American people for the horrific terror attacks this weekend in London and with word this morning of another terrorist attack in Melbourne, Australia. 

Our hearts break for the families of the victims and the injured — just the latest innocents to suffer at the hands of terrorists, joining those in Manchester, in Kabul, in Paris, in Istanbul, Brussels, Berlin, San Bernardino.  They have our prayers.  They have our unwavering resolve.

As the President said two nights ago, this bloodshed must end and this bloodshed will end.  (Applause.) 

But to be with you today is deeply meaningful to me.  I’m truly honored to join this year’s National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.  My mom would be so proud.  (Laughter and applause.) 

Since 2004, the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast has brought together leaders in the Church, leaders in public life, leaders from across the globe to live out Saint John Paul the Second’s call for a “New Evangelization”, and to rekindle the flame of faith that gives comfort to the weary and lights the world with its glow.  This honestly feels like coming home to me.  (Applause.)

I’m the son of two devout American Catholics, and the grandson and the namesake of an Irish immigrant and his wonderful wife.  And I just learned from Father Jenkins at Notre Dame, where I had the opportunity to speak, as Carl told you, that even though my official biography says I was raised in a large Catholic family, I’m actually from a mid-sized Catholic family — only six children in the family I grew up.  (Laughter.)  

The hymns and liturgies of the Catholic Church are the anthems of my youth.  The Bible says “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he’s old, he’ll not depart from it.”

I want to tell you as a young boy growing up in a small town in southern Indiana, my Catholic faith poured an eternal foundation in my life.  I did eight years of hard time at Catholic school.  (Laughter.)  The name Sister Rachel still sends a shiver down my spine.  (Laughter.)  Honestly, I was the beneficiary of an extraordinary Catholic education, went to public high school.  But that foundation continues to serve and inform me every day.

I was one of four boys and two girls.  But being one of four boys was very convenient for Father Gleason (ph), because he could call my dad in a pinch and have a full team of altar boys ready for any mass.  (Laughter.)  So we lost count of the number of times we were rousted from bed early at the Sunday because there had been cancellations.  But it was very special.

I was not only baptized in the Church, but I was confirmed, and I stand before you today as Michael Richard Christopher Pence.  (Applause.) 

While my own faith journey has taken me and my family in a different direction, I want you all to know how much I cherish my Catholic upbringing and cherish the Church.  In fact, I just attended mass with my mom this weekend when we were in Chicago with family.

I really grew up with a front-row seat to the Catholic faith and all that it means to families and to communities.  It gave me a deep appreciation for the Church’s rich contributions to the fabric of American life. 

The truth is Catholicism is woven deep into that fabric.  It gives America a vitality and vibrancy that inspires everyone who sees it — to this very day. 

Even from the hour of our nation’s birth, the Catholic Church was there.  The last signer of the Declaration of Independence to pass away was the only Catholic signer, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland.

His cousin, John, served as the first bishop and archbishop of the Catholic Church in the United States.

What began as a trickle became a deluge in American history, as waves of Catholic immigrants — like my grandfather — from places like Ireland, from Italy, from Germany, and indeed, from across the wider world made landfall in America, drawn here by the promise of freedom, of opportunity, prosperity; and most of all, it was the freedom to practice their faith that is the birthright of every American.

And now our history books are filled with the names of the sons and daughters of the Catholic Church.  And as the Bible says, we recognize them by their fruits.  There are among us here today some distinguished men and women in public life, in public service who are emblematic of that contribution.  And I’m honored to be able to address you all.

American Catholics have built everything that matters in this country — build families, build businesses, founded hospitals, ministered to the poor, become leaders in public life, established world-class institutions of higher education, and so many other countless contributions to America.

And maybe most importantly Catholics have worn the uniform of the United States of America in every conflict in American history since our nation’s founding.  (Applause.) 

And American Catholics and their family continue to participate in our armed forces to this very moment.  At this very time in far-flung places in the world, men and women that have grown up in the heart of Catholic families are wearing the uniform and serving our country, and we honor them. 

We also honor those who have served.  And would all those who are present here today who have worn the uniform of the United States of America, would those men and women please stand up and allow us to thank you for your service and putting teeth on your faith in defending our freedom?  (Applause.) 

Thank you for your service.

Catholicism has made an indelible mark on the American spirit.  Your faith has moved mountains, and the Catholic Church and its millions of parishioners have been a force for good in our communities, large and small, throughout our land, throughout our history.

To all the great American Catholics gathered here, let me assure you this morning, bright and early at this prayer breakfast, American Catholics have an ally in President Donald Trump.  (Applause.) 

President Trump stands for the religious liberty of every American and the right of our people of faith to live out your convictions in the public square.

President Trump stands with those who are persecuted for their faith around the world — no matter the country they call home or the creed they profess.

And President Donald Trump stands with the most vulnerable — the aged, the infirm, and the unborn.  (Applause.) 

On the first count, I can assure you this President believes that no American should have to violate their conscience to fully participate in American life.  (Applause.)  And he has not just talked about it, he has taken action to protect men and women of faith in the public square.

Just last month, the Little Sisters of the Poor were at the White House, and on that day, I had the high honor to stand as President Trump signed an executive order to restore religious liberty in the public square.  I couldn’t have been more proud.  (Applause.) 

As inspired as I was by the President’s actions, I was even more inspired by the Little Sisters of the Poor.  They took a big stand for faith and freedom, and they prevailed.  Would we give the Little Sisters of the Poor a big round of applause for the stand they took on behalf of all our faith?  (Applause.) 

Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Trump declared in his words that the “federal government will never, ever penalize any person for their protected religious beliefs,” and he directed the Department of Justice to “develop new rules” to protect Americans of faith in the public square.

And I can promise you, President Trump will continue to fight to ensure that every American has the freedom to follow the dictates of their conscience and add their voices and their values to the beautiful tapestry of America’s national life.  (Applause.) 

And this President stands for religious liberty in America and across the wider world.  Just last month, President Trump traveled across the Middle East and Europe, where I know he was deeply honored and moved to have the opportunity to meet with the Holy Father, Pope Francis. 

The President and the Pope had a lengthy and meaningful discussion about issues facing our world, about how our nation and the Church can work together to address them — especially the persecution of people of faith across the wider world.

In Saudi Arabia, only a few days earlier on the world stage, President Trump had condemned in his words, “the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews,” and he condemned “the slaughter of Christians” across the wider Arab world.  (Applause.) 

This is a President who knows that terrorism is an existential threat to people of faith in countries around the globe.  Terrorist groups seek to stamp out all religions that are not their own, or not their version of their own, and believers of many backgrounds have suffered grievously at their hands.  And we acknowledge all of that loss and suffering.

But it seems that the practitioners of terror harbor a special hatred for the followers of Christ, and none more so than the barbarians known as ISIS. 

That brutal regime shows a savagery unseen in the Middle East since the Middle Ages, and I believe ISIS is guilty of nothing short of genocide.  (Applause.) 

In Egypt, we have just recently seen Coptic Christians martyred on their way to a monastery, bombs exploded in churches amidst Palm Sunday celebrations — a day of hope transformed into a day of pain and suffering.

In Iraq, we see ancient churches demolished, priests and monks beheaded, and the two-millennia-old Christian tradition in Mosul virtually extinguished.

In Syria, we see Christian communities burned to the ground, women and children sold into the most terrible form of slavery.  Christianity faces unprecedented threats in the land where it was given birth and an exodus unrivaled since the days of Moses.

Just a few weeks ago, I had the great privilege of meeting with courageous leaders of the Syrian Catholic Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church.  I heard one story after another from them about the horrors that their parishioners face on a daily basis.  But I also heard their resolve.  I heard a bishop speak about returning to his home parish in Mosul and celebrating Easter Sunday.  He said, there’s no roof on the church.  The walls are falling down.  But the anthems of faith rose.  It had to be a glorious service.

It’s heartbreaking to think that the Christian population in Syria alone has plummeted from 1.25 million to only 500,000 in just the past six years.  Whether in Mosul, in Iraq, or in Syria, the followers of Christ have fallen by 80 percent in the last decade and a half.  This must end.  This will end.  (Applause.) 

Carl Anderson and the Knights of Columbus, let me just say thank you for your extraordinary work caring for the persecuted. And to Mother Olga, let me personally thank you for raising your voice on behalf of the victims of persecution in your homeland and across the Middle East.

And let me promise all of you:  This administration hears you.  This President stands with you.

Our administration is fully committed to bringing relief and comfort to the believers in that ancient land.  And under President Donald Trump, America will continue to condemn persecution of any faith in any place at any time.  We will confront it with all of our might.  (Applause.) 

Protecting and promoting religious freedom is a foreign-policy priority of this administration.  And we will continue to work with this Congress to stand without apology for persecuted people of faith across the globe.  We will continue to stand with our allies and take the fight to the terrorists on our terms, on their soil until we drive the cancer of terrorism from the face of the Earth.  (Applause.) 

And finally, let me say from my heart, it’s the greatest privilege of my life to serve as Vice President for President Donald Trump, but I couldn’t be more proud to serve as Vice President to a President who stands without apology for the sanctity of human life.  (Applause.) 

Since day one of this administration, President Donald Trump has been keeping his promise to stand for life, and life is winning in America again.

In one of his very first acts in Congress, President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy to prevent taxpayer funding from organizations that perform or promote abortions abroad.   (Applause.)  

And I’m proud to say the President recently expanded that policy to cover nearly $9 billion in foreign aid.

In January, our President personally sent me to speak — I guess for the first time ever for someone in one of these positions — at the annual March for Life.  (Applause.) 

And I got to tell you the story.  I went to the March for Life that day, and I said the President sent me.  Some people might have thought I just said that.  But in fact, here’s how it happened.  We were talking earlier in the week about the calendar for the week.  And the President was informed that Prime Minister May was visiting from Great Britain, our cherished ally.  And so he was not going to be able even break away for a phone call, which had been the tradition of many Presidents since that day in 1973.

And I was standing in the Oval Office, and the President said, oh, well, I won’t be able to call.  And I said rather shyly, well, if I could help in any way.

And he said, really?  How?

And I said, well, they invited me, too.  (Laughter.)  

And he looked up from his desk at the — in the Oval Office.  And he said, they invited you to speak?

And I said, yes, sir.

And he said, have you done that before? 

And I said, my family always went to the March for Life when I was in the Congress.  I’ve spoken, be glad to help.  (Laughter.) 

And the President pointed his finger at me without hesitation and said, you go.  You go and you tell them we’re with them.  (Applause.) 

President Donald Trump stands with the men and women who stand for the sanctity of human life in America, and he always will.  (Applause.) 

He’s actually taken even more action than I’ve mentioned thus far.  The President actually has empowered states to withhold federal funding from abortion providers, and I’m humbled to say that at the President’s direction, I had the privilege of casting the tie-breaking vote in the United States Senate that allows states to defund Planned Parenthood.  (Applause.) 

And President Trump is appointing strong conservatives to the federal courts at every level — men and women who will uphold the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution — and that includes the newest justice to the Supreme Court of the United States, a man in the mold of the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia — Justice Neil Gorsuch.  (Applause.) 

My friends, life is winning in America.  Life is winning through the steady advance of science that continues to illuminate more and more when life begins.

Life is winning through the generosity of millions of adoptive families, who open their hearts and their homes to children in need.

Life is winning through the compassion of caregivers and volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers and faith-based organizations, like Project Rachel, that give hope and healing to women in cities and towns across America.

And life is winning in America because all of you have stood with those who stand — from the Congress, to the White House, to statehouses across the land — for the sanctity of human life.

I believe we’ve come to a pivotal moment in the life of our nation, and indeed, the life of the world.  The Catholic community in America has made an enormous difference in the life of this nation.

And at this moment, I urge you to continue to stand up, to speak out, to continue to be that voice for the voiceless that the church has been throughout its history, continue to be the hands and feet of our Savior, reaching in with love and compassion, embracing the dignity of all people of every background and every experience.

I urge you to continue to do the very things that we celebrate here this morning and to stand for the change that this nation so desperately needs, a change back to a safer America, a more prosperous America, an America standing tall in the world again for our values and our ideals — standing with our allies and against our enemies.

But I ask you to do one more thing that I know that men and women of Catholic faith in this country do exceedingly well, and that is I ask you to remember to bow the head and bend the knee and to pray.  In these challenging times, I encourage you to take time every day to pray.

And I don’t so much say to pray for a particular agenda.  Although I will tell you that the sweetest words the President and I ever hear are when people reach out at an event to grab a hand and say, “I’m praying for you.”  And we hear it a lot.  Men and women of the Catholic faith in this country and of every faith in this country are people of prayer.

I encourage you to redouble your efforts, but don’t so much pray for a cause as for country.  I’ve always been drawn to what Abraham Lincoln said when he was asked once if he thought that God was on the side of the Union Army in our great Civil War.  Abraham Lincoln responded, “I’d rather concern myself more with whether we were on God’s side than whether God is on our side.”  (Applause.) 

So just pray for America.  Pray for this country because America matters.

And when you pray, pray with confidence.  Because I truly do believe in these divided times where there is so much focus on what we disagree on, it seems, so much need for healing, that those ancient words inscribed millennia ago that Catholic Americans and all Christian Americans and all our Jewish friends have clung to throughout the thousands of years are still true today as the day they were expressed:  That if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, He’ll do as He’s always done throughout the long and storied history of this Church and this nation.  As the Old Book says, He’ll hear from heaven and He’ll heal this land — this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  

Thank you very much for the honor of being with you today.  (Applause.)  Thank you for all the Catholic Church means to America.  God bless you and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.) 


Joint Press Release from Vice President Mike Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso on the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue-

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso shake hands as they end the joint press conference at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. After meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Pence held talks with Aso on a new U.S.-Japan “economic dialogue” to be led by the two. The new forum for trade talks was launched by U.S. President Donald Trump and Abe during the Japanese leader’s visit to the U.S. in February. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  (The Associated Press)
The White House
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release

Joint Press Release from Vice President Mike Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso on the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue

Vice President Mike Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso met today to launch the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue in Tokyo, Japan. In February, President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to this Economic Dialogue when the two leaders met in Washington, D.C., as a way to deepen the strong economic ties between the United States and Japan.   

The Co-Chairs agreed to structure the Economic Dialogue along three policy pillars: Common Strategy on Trade and Investment Rules/Issues; Cooperation in Economic and Structural Policies; and Sectoral Cooperation. They agreed that the Dialogue should generate concrete results in the near term. 

The Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister look forward to engaging again in the Dialogue by the end of this year.

The two Chairs approved the launch of the following three pillars of activity under the Economic Dialogue:

Common Strategy on Trade and Investment Rules/Issues

The United States and Japan agreed that this pillar would cover: a bilateral framework for setting high trade and investment standards; perspectives on trade and investment initiatives of the United States and Japan in the regional and global trading environment; and addressing third-country concerns.

Cooperation in Economic and Structural Policies

The United States and Japan agreed that this pillar would cover: active use of the G7’s Three-Pronged Approach (mutually-reinforcing fiscal, monetary, and structural policies); cooperation on global economic and financial developments and challenges; and cooperation on regional macroeconomic and financial issues.

Sectoral Cooperation

The United States and Japan discussed specific sectors where improved commercial relations will promote mutual economic benefits and job creation in both countries. 


Remarks by the Vice President and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Aso at a Press Conference

The Prime Minister’s Residence
Tokyo, Japan

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ASO:  (As interpreted.)  I’m delighted to welcome to Vice President Pence to Japan in April when some cherry blossoms are still remaining.  Perhaps it reminded you of the big celebration of the 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 strength Japan-U.S. relationship.  Very soon after my visit to the United States where I had a very useful meeting with our dear, longstanding 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 Asian Pacific region, economic prosperity is indispensable.  At the dialogue today, from the perspective of further deepening win-win economic relations between Japan and the United States, Vice President Pence and I were able to have a good discussion.

Going forward in the dialogue we concurred to discuss three pillars, namely common strategy on trade and investment rule and issues; cooperation in economic and structural policy area; sectoral cooperation.  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 a while ago, two leaders confirmed that they are fully committed to strengthening economic relationship bilaterally, as well as in the region based on the free and fair trade rules.

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

To rectify unfair 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 the minister of foreign affairs dispute settlement section, as well as general counsel office, which was newly formed within METI.

On the cooperation on economic and structural policy area, Japan and the U.S. will actively use three-pronged approach of fiscal monetary and structural policy agreed at G7.  And we’ll discuss the ways 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 various themes where Japan-U.S. could cooperate will be taken up.  And Japan-U.S. economic relationship will be deepened, a multi-faceted front along with these three pillars, Japan-U.S. economic relations will leap forward significantly.  And Japan and U.S. together will lead strongly economic growth of the Asian Pacific region, as well as the rest of the world.

Also Vice President Pence and I agreed to hold the second economic dialogue meeting by the end of this year at a mutually convenient time.

To further deepen Japan-U.S. win-win economic relations and to build a new 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 friction, but for the very first time, no longer it’s a friction.  But it’s based on the cooperation now.  This is a very important juncture where we are opening a new page.

Thank you so much.  

Vice President Pence, please.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Konnichiwa and hello.  To Deputy Prime Minister Aso, thank you.  Thank you for your great hospitality and your friendship and the kindness that you’ve 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 Asian 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 the 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.  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 benefitting 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 with Japan and with all our allies in the region, including South Korea to confront the most ominous threat posing this region 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, the 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.

Now security is the foundation of our prosperity.  But promoting prosperity is actually the main reason that I had 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 an opportunity to deepen our bilateral economic ties and to foster jobs, prosperity, and growth on both sides of the Atlantic [sic].  We’re building on a strong foundation.  But as the Prime Minister 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.

I saw that firsthand 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 “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.  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 specific 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 nations’ 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.  The U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue will provide us with a new forum to address the economic issues that are crucial to our long-term success.  The relevant U.S. agencies — the Department of Commerce, the Department of Treasury, and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office will lead discussions for each of these 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 goal of a mutually beneficial economic relationship, and we look forward to working with them through the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue to achieve our vision of an equal partnership that creates jobs and prosperity and growth in the United States and in Japan on an equal basis.

We have before us a 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, and it does not have a corollary in the English language.  But I learned it a while ago.  As governor of Indiana, I had the opportunity to understand and appreciate the more than 250 Japanese companies that had 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.  And 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.

Q    (As interpreted.)  I have both questions to Mr. Aso and Vice President Pence.  Trump administration declared they would withdraw from TPP.  And within Japan great attention is drawn to what is going to be the U.S. trade policy going forward.  Mr. Lighthizer, USTR nominee, said that in the agricultural area trading and negotiation Japan will be the first to target.  So what will be the trade negotiation going forward between Japan and U.S.?  What is the outlook?  Are you looking for concluding Japan-U.S. FTA in the end?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ASO:  Thank you, now can I answer your question first?  

Well, at the Economic Dialogue this time as the 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 underway in the Asian Pacific, it’s important that Japan-U.S. should lead the rulemaking process in the region.  I think it’s very important, and we’ve been discussing that concretely — not only to strengthen trade and investment flow bilaterally, but also Japan-U.S. can play pivotal role in spreading high-level, fair rules over Asia and the Pacific region.

We like to strengthen economic aspect of Japan-U.S. alliance, and we’ve been discussing that.

And looking at the Japan-U.S. economic relationship, it used to be described as being an economic fiction.  We started with the word fiction.  And fiction used to be the symbol of our bilateral relationship, but no longer.  We are now in the era of cooperation between our two countries.

It’s not a matter of which sides 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 define its significance and have a good constructive discussion.  And I think we were able to mark a first step toward that. 

Thank you. 

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

And 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, and that will be our policy going forward.

But today I think gives evidence to the fact that the United States of America is determined to reach out to our partners here in the Asian 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 interests 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 — 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 an economic dialogue, the end of which may result in bilateral trade negotiations in the future.

But 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 a 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 arms’ 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 the prosperity of the world at large.

Q    Thank you very much.  Vice President Pence, you’ve said that the United States will increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea.  Today we heard Prime Minister Abe say that while he agrees with that, and 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 during his campaign 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 is Japan prepared to do to respond to President Trump’s call?

(Speaks Japanese.)

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:  Thank you, Josh.  Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has been the longstanding 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’ve seen the very failure of dialogue writ large.  First we remember the agreed framework of the 1990s, then we remember the six-party talks.  And with good-faith efforts by nations around the world again and again, North Korea met those efforts and 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 this topic.  Yesterday, in South Korea, where I met with officials in the National Assembly and acting President Hwang.  

President Trump recently met with President Xi, and 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.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ASO:  Washington Post, my English hearing is still good enough.  But if I may say in Japanese.

(As interpreted.)  Well, economic dialogue, TPP — whether the TPP can be made as a foundation for a dialogue going forward, is that what you said?

Sorry.  Then my English hearing is absolutely wrong.  Would you mind repeating the question again?

Q    Minister Aso, President Trump during his campaign often called on Japan to share more of the burden for common defense and pay more money for U.S. security presence here in Japan.  What is Japan willing to do to respond to President Trump’s calls for a better deal for the United States in the U.S.-Japan security relationship?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ASO:  I think I got a picture.  Response in Japanese is okay, right? 

(As interpreted.)  Now, responding to your question, let’s look at Japanese defense.  Just the other day — Mr. James Mattis, Defense Secretary, came to Japan, at which occasion I had an opportunity to talk with him.

At least look at Okinawa’s host nation’s support — host nation’s support came up as a topic.  And he said that Japan is behaving like a textbook case — 75 percent is paid to the Okinawa host nation; ROK — 40 percent; 30 percent Germany; and 20 percent Italy.  That is a burden share.  And I think whole picture was understood by General Mattis.

And also just lately when the Abe Cabinet was formed, look at the defense expenditure — how it is being allocated.  The navy is the crucial area where more budget allocation has been done, followed by air and the land.  And I think this is the most appropriate allocation of the defense budget.  

So at least — ever since inclusive by General Mattis and other military personnel of the United States with regard to the Japanese defense or discontent, at least no message has been given to us from the United States as far as I know.  So we will continue to make mutual effort and try to share the information as much as possible going forward, and particularly look at the East China Sea and Korean Peninsula and Sea of Japan.  Certain fictions might arise.  So information exchange is particularly important — intelligence sharing and the information sharing has to continue in appropriate manner most of all because of the situation we are in.