US Affirms Readiness to Defend Itself, Allies Against N. Korea

Ivan Schwartz
August 18, 2017

The US and Japan have agreed to advance their multilateral security and defence cooperation with countries like India, South Korea and Australia in view of North Korea's risky provocative behaviour, leaders of the countries have said.

China, North Korea's main ally and trading partner, has urged the United States and South Korea to scrap the drills in exchange for North Korea calling a halt to its weapons programs.

"As you might imagine, we've spent a fair amount of time discussing North Korea".

Kono told Ri his country should take concrete action to comprehensively resolve the nuclear and missile development issue as well as the issue of Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea, based on the 2002 Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration.

The aim of Ri's suggestion was believed to be to rattle Japan by hinting that there is room for negotiation, as Japan, the United States and other countries are stepping up global pressure on North Korea to stop nuclear and missile development by the administration of leader Kim Jong Un.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke of bolstering military capabilities to respond to North Korea's "unacceptable behavior".

North Korea's rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the USA mainland has fueled a rise in tensions in recent months.

Any missile fired by North Korea towards Guam will still be on the ascent as it flies over Japan, defence experts have said, which means the SM-3 might stand a better shot of intercepting the rocket.

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Washington and Seoul say the exercises are defensive in nature and crucial to deterring North Korean aggression. Tuesday's meeting was the highest-level meeting between the two countries' militaries since Fang and U.S.

The Security Consultative Committee continued to build on a joint statement issued by President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on February 10.

The North Korean military has drawn up plans to send intermediate-range missiles over Japan and into waters near the US Pacific territory of Guam. "I read those", Mr Tillerson said.

"We will call on China to take specific measures to make North Korea change its behaviour".

Some 300 Japanese and U.S. military personnel yesterday carried out live-fire artillery training in northern Japan, officials said, amid high regional tensions over North Korean missile threats. We have agreed on this point.

"We in the United States recognise any confrontation with North Korea would pose an immediate danger to our allies and their populations", he said.

Pyongyang's deputy UN ambassador told United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres this week that its nuclear weapons programme will never be up for negotiation as long as the U.S. government's "hostile policy and nuclear threat continue".

"This is not conducted with a particular country or region in mind", he said. "In light of the threat of North Korea, the four of us confirmed the importance of the unwavering U.S. commitment to extend the deterrence", he added.

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