US, Japan step up defence cooperation to counter North Korea
Washington: The United States and Japan will strengthen their defense cooperation to address the threat of armed North Korea as tensions in East Asia remain high, the two allies said on Thursday.
“For the North Korean threat, at this meeting, we agreed to increase the pressure and to strengthen the alliance’s capacity,” said Japanese Defense Minister, Itsunori Onodera, after talking to senior US officials in Washington.
US fears over North Korea’s nuclear missile and nuclear missile program have increased in recent weeks. Pyongyang said it plans to launch missiles into the United States peace territory, Guam, although North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seems to have delayed the decision.
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Japanese counterparts agreed Thursday at a meeting in Washington to work more closely on North Korea.
“In light of the North Korean threat, four of us have confirmed the importance of America’s strong commitment to widespread deterrence,” Onodera said. Tillerson said the United States wanted a dialogue with Pyongyang, but only if it was meaningful.
“Our effort is to make them want to participate in the talks but to engage in conversations with the understanding that these discussions will lead to a different conclusion than the discussions of the past,” he said. In 2005, North Korea reached an agreement with six countries to suspend its nuclear program in exchange for diplomatic rewards and energy assistance, but the agreement collapsed later.
US President Donald Trump warned North Korea last week that it faces “fire and fury” if threatened by the United States, urging North Korea to say it planned to plant missiles to Guam.
As the two sides have discussed new rhetoric.
Trump has promised not to allow North Korea to develop nuclear missiles that could attack the mainland United States, but Pyongyang considers its nuclear arsenal as a protection against the US. And its partners in Asia.
The UN Deputy Ambassador to Pyongyang said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres this week that his nuclear weapons program will not be negotiated as hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the United States government will continue.
Guterres spoke by telephone with Deputy Ambassador Kim Ryong On Tuesday, North Korea’s mission to the United Nations said in a statement Thursday.
Japan is worried
Japan intends to expand its role in its alliance with Washington “and increase its defense capability,” while the United States “remains committed to implementing the most advanced capabilities in Japan,” the department said in a statement.
The Defense Ministry of Japan has established an Aegis missile defense system to meet North Korea’s missile threats and has decided to apply for funding next year to cover system design costs, said a Japanese defense official in Reuters.