U.S. asks Chile to cut all ties with North Korea

SANTIAGO – United States Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Chile Wednesday as part of his weeklong trip to Latin America that has included stops in Colombia and Argentina.

During a meeting with Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, Pence called on Chile to “break all diplomatic and commercial ties” to North Korea. He’s making the same ask of Peru, Mexico and Brazil.

North Korea has no diplomatic offices or banking institution in Chile, but the two countries do have a trade relationship.

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Pence said, “We are beginning to see progress” when it comes to North Korea, but says that “much more” must still be done.

The Trump administration has been trying to pressure Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile program.

Mr. Pence headed from the airport to La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago, where the two exchanged greetings before private meetings. They will also be delivering a joint statement and having lunch together. But he isn’t expected to take questions from reporters after meeting with Chile’s president.

Pence spokesman Jarrod Agen tells reporters traveling with Pence that the leaders had never intended to take questions, at the Chileans’ request.

That means Pence won’t face more questions about President Donald Trump’s response to violence between white supremacists and counter-demonstrators last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Tuesday, Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence.

The VP is scheduled to meet with U.S. embassy staff and their families before delivering remarks at a dinner on advancing prosperity and economic growth in the hemisphere.

He’ll head to Panama on Thursday.

On Wednesday morning, Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Chile to meet with President Michelle Bachelet at the Palacio de La Moneda.

Pence is on a week-long trip to Latin America to build ties with the region and speak out against the growing crisis in Venezuela.