Pence says Trump-Kim meeting likely after New Year

Frederick Owens
November 15, 2018

Asked if China, which has been the North's main economic benefactor, was doing enough to maintain sanctions pressure, Pence said Beijing has done more than they have ever done before and Trump was gratreful for that.

He said Washington had taken action to promote this vision, including steps to spur private investment in infrastructure and a pursuit of trade that is "free, fair, and reciprocal".

Modi also conveyed great appreciation that President Trump had organised a meeting in the White House on Tuesday to celebrate Diwali, the foreign secretary said.

Trump is expected to speak more about enforcing sanctions when he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit late this month and the unique role that China can play in ensuring the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, Pence said.

PM Modi also reminded the U.S. vice-president that in one way or another all the traces and all the leads in global terror attacks ultimately lead to a "single source and single place of origin", in an apparent reference to Pakistan. "And in that context the Prime Minister therefore expressed the hope that this would be the approach that USA might take when it looks at the whole issue of the H-1B visa", Gokhale said.

With Trump absent in Singapore, diplomats and analysts were questioning whether the USA was still a strong partner of Asean nations. They also discussed counter-terrorism cooperation and ways to boost trade, with India indicating interest in expanding the newly initiated imports of oil and gas from the U.S., now valued at US$4 billion (S$5.5 billion).

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared India's "serious concern" at the "mainstreaming" of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, who carries a $10 million bounty, in Pakistan's recent elections, when he met US Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Singapore on Wednesday. But significantly, Mr Modi pitched for USA cooperation in making India a hub for making defence equipment. "We expressed our readiness to import more oil and gas from U.S. as a way of expanding our trade", he said.

Pence acknowledged that India had made substantial progress economically as well as diplomatically in regional and global affairs, Gokhale said.

The Indo-Pacific region also come up for discussion and Modi referred to his June speech in Singapore at IISS Shangrila Dialogue in which he had outlined India's vision on Indo-Pacific.

Pence specifically acknowledged that India has made substantial progress economically as well as diplomatically in regional and worldwide affairs, and said the United States looks forward to working with India on various issues both on political and economic side to ensure "a fair-rules based global order".

"Like you, we seek an Indo-Pacific in which all nations, large and small, can prosper and thrive - secure in our sovereignty, confident in our values, and growing stronger together", he said.

He added that there had been "tremendous progress" so far in negotiations, namely the North's stoppage of missile tests and the return of USA hostages and the possible remains of troops killed in the Korean War.

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