(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, Pool).
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence waves before leaving for Japan, at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Tuesday, April 18, 2017.
Advocates for the TPP, negotiated by former President Barack Obama and supported by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said it would have dramatically reduced tariffs on US goods and opened new markets.
"We believe there is more China can do in terms of sanctions and other economic efforts". Pressure on North Korea is crucial, he said. Last Thursday, the U.S. military said it had dropped "the mother of all bombs", the largest non-nuclear device it has ever unleashed in combat, on a network of caves and tunnels used by Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan.
Mr Trump has told CNN that North Korea has "gotta behave" and US Vice President Mike Pence, in South Korea on a 10-day trip to the region including Australia, issued stern words for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his pursuit of nuclear and missile programs.
In his remarks during a meeting with acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn, Pence also noted the recent US bombing of targets in Syria and Afghanistan.
"We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live with increasing provocations from across the Sea of Japan", he said.
"We know that you can help us level that playing field between our two countries and move toward a system that maximize jobs and growth and a brighter future for the people of the USA and people of South Korea".
The press event was held hours after US Vice President Mike Pence visited the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
Evan Medeiros, the National Security Council's senior director for Asian affairs under Obama, joined other former officials in questioning Trump's attempt to barter the US-China trading relationship over the North Korean issue.
"The message of the people of the United States of America is that we seek peace, but America has always sought peace through strength and my message here today standing with U.S. forces Korea, standing with courageous soldiers from the Republic of Korea is a message of resolve".
For decades, U.S. officials have made clear to their Chinese counterparts that the USA won't barter economic or other foreign policy issues in exchange for support on the North Korean issue - sending the signal that the United States position on the issue was in the interests of global stability.
Wang told reporters that although USA officials have made clear that a military strike remains a possibility, he believes that Washington would still prefer to de-escalate tensions through multi-sided talks.
Sure, North Korea might interpret such overtures as some sort of victory over its archenemy, but so what if they initiate the winding down of its nuclear program?
In Japan, Pence's two main goals are to spur increased US access to Japanese markets and strengthen Japanese foreign investment.
"It opens up the thinking in everyone's mind around the world that they can haggle for a better deal and get the U.S. to give up on longstanding positions", said Michael Green, the National Security Council's senior director for Asia in the Bush 43 White House.
Throughout his bareknuckle election campaign, US President Donald Trump repeatedly called into question a mutual defense treaty between Japan and the United States, suggesting Tokyo should pay for its own security.
He said Trump is certain that negotiating trade deals with individual countries was the best way to ensure they yield "win-win" situations for both sides. With no USA trade representative yet in office and other key positions still unfilled, such nitty-gritty discussions will have to come later.
The loss of US participation in the TPP was a blow to Japan following strenuous negotiations, especially over opening access wider to its long-protected farm sector.
Indiana, where he was governor from 2013-2017, is home to manufacturing plants for automakers Toyota, Honda and Subaru.