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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrives in Japan on Asia trip aimed at boosting pressure on North Korea

AP

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Japan on Tuesday on the second stop of his Asia swing that he says will boost pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program during the Winter Olympic games in the South.

Pence said he will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan to show “solidarity,” in the face of the North Korean threat and with U.S. service members who would be among the first to respond to a crisis.

Pence departs for South Korea Thursday, where he will meet with President Moon Jae-in and attend the opening of the games Friday night.

Pence says he wants to help “make sure that North Korea doesn’t use the powerful symbolism and the backdrop of the Winter Olympics to paper over the truth about their regime.”

He has not ruled out the possibility of meeting with North Korean officials at the upcoming Olympics in South Korea.

Pence spoke before departing Monday for a six-day swing through Asia that will be highlighted by his stop at the Pyeongchang Games. He says no plans have been made for him to meet with any members of the North Korean delegation.

North Korea is sending its nominal head of state, Kim Jong Nam — the highest-level visitor to the South from the North in recent memory.