Nikkei and Sankei reported on local reactions to Vice President Pence’s remarks to the Washington Post reportedly hinting at Washington’s flexibility about holding dialogue with the North Korean regime. Nikkei said the GOJ is reportedly anxious to ascertain the real intention behind his comments, quoting Prime Minister Abe as saying at the Diet yesterday: “Mr. Pence and I aligned the two government’s polices very closely even while in PyeongChang. We are completely in sync in stepping up the pressure to the maximum extent.” An unnamed senior MOFA official commented on the Vice President’s statements by saying: “Remarks by senior USG officials tend to vacillate, but the latest exchange of views [between the Vice President and the prime minister] didn’t show any change in the U.S.’s basic approach [toward North Korea].” Mainichi quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga as telling the press on Tuesday: “When the Vice President visited Japan, we spent many hours closely coordinating our views. We will apply maximum pressure on North Korea by employing all means available.” Defense Minister Onodera stressed that the Trump administration’s position on North Korea has not changed.