TOKYO (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is seeking to reassure and refocus American allies on the growing nuclear threat from North Korea with visits to Japan and South Korea this week.

In meetings with government leaders, military officials and U.S. service members, Pence says he wants to make sure the Winter Olympics don't distract from the bellicose government's human rights abuses and nuclear program. He is set to meet Wednesday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh AH'-bay) to discuss increasing pressure on the North.

Pence watched Japanese troops demonstrate the simulated deployment of Japan's surface-to-air missile defense system, which would attempt to intercept a North Korean missile. He also participated in a briefing at Japan's Ministry of Defense on the threat.

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