Pence Talks Stocks, North Korea

Vice president leads delegation to Olympics

Vice President Mike Pence, en route to Asia on Monday, discusses the stock market swoon and North Korea. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

En route to Asia on Monday evening, Vice President Mike Pence declined to rule out meeting with North Korean officials while leading the U.S. delegation to the Olympic Games.

“I have not requested a meeting, but we’ll see what happens,” Pence said. “Let me say President Trump has said he always believes in talking.”

Pence held a brief news conference during a stop at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, on his way to Japan. He’s visiting Japan before heading to South Korea in time for Friday’s opening ceremonies.

“But my message, whatever the setting, whoever’s present will be the same,” Pence said. “That is, North Korea must once and for all abandon its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile ambitions.”

The vice president was also upbeat about the economy late Monday, despite recent turbulence on Wall Street.

“We couldn’t be more proud of the fact that the stock market has increased by thousands of points since Election Day in 2016, but today’s selloff represents what is very likely simply the ebb and flow of our stock markets,” Pence said just a few hours after the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 1,175 points.

“The most important numbers to focus on are the fundamentals. The fundamentals of this economy continue to be very strong,” Pence said. “Probably the most encouraging number for me, as a former governor that watched how stubborn the wage number is in this country is seeing wages rise by 2.9 percent in the most recent report.”

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