• Kyodo

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The United States has not given up hope of ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation trade deal President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to scrap once he takes office in January, Secretary of State John Kerry told Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday.

During a meeting in Lima, Kerry cited high expectations in U.S. business circles for the free trade agreement involving the United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim countries to go through, according to a Japanese official.

Kishida was quoted by the official as saying early approval of the deal by the U.S. Congress would be vital for ensuring the importance of free trade.

Kishida said Japan’s ruling coalition is making utmost efforts to get the Diet to approve the TPP during the extraordinary session set to end on Nov. 30.

The foreign minister also said Japan regards its alliance with the United States as the cornerstone of its diplomacy, regardless of who holds the office of U.S. president, according to the official.

Kishida and Kerry reaffirmed close coordination in enforcing strict sanctions on North Korea as part of efforts to curb the country’s missile and nuclear weapons development, the official said.

Kishida also held separate meetings with Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion and Lim Jock Seng, Brunei’s second minister of foreign affairs and trade, in which they all agreed to increase efforts to bring the TPP into force, according to Japanese officials.

Kishida and Dion also agreed to step up talks on an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement, or ACSA, as part of efforts to deepen security cooperation between Japan and Canada.

The talks took place on the sidelines of a two-day ministerial meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the Peruvian capital through Friday.

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