Published: Sat, August 19, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Japan and US to step up defense cooperation

Japan and US to step up defense cooperation

Dunford met Friday with his Japanese counterpart Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, and said a strong U.S. -Japan alliance remains important when facing a shared threat from North Korea.

On Aug. 18, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford reaffirmed Washington's "ironclad commitment" to the security of its close ally, Japan.

However, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said there was "no military solution" to North Korea's nuclear threats because of Pyongyang's massed artillery targeting the South Korean capital.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea last week it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States, prompting North Korea to say it was considering plans to fire missiles toward Guam.

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

"Japan should be softening the tension between the USA and North Korea", he added.

The four officials have strongly encouraged China to take decisive measures to urge North Korea to change its course of action. Hagerty takes his post amid escalating threats from North Korea.

A joint statement from the officials confirmed that the United States would offer its full protection, "including USA nuclear forces", to Japan.

Neither North Korea nor China see Tokyo as capable of laying the groundwork for multilateral talks, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

"For the peace and stability of East Asia and East China Sea, we will continue to cooperate with the United States".

"That's an example of Prime Minister Abe deftly keeping the right positive tone on the alliance at the highest levels", said Mintaro Oba, a former State Department diplomat specializing in the Korean Peninsula and now a speechwriter in Washington, "but still managing to do his own thing outside of it".

"Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us", he said.

"China believes that dialogue and consultations are the only effective avenue to resolve the peninsula issue, and that military means can not become an option", China's Defence Ministry cited Fan as saying.

"(Japan and the U.S.) also confirmed their shared commitment to enhance and accelerate cooperation in such areas as bilateral planning, air and missile defense, non-combatant evacuation operations, defense equipment and technology cooperation, intelligence cooperation and information security", a press release from the State Department issued on Thursday reads.

Easing tensions this week, North Korean media announced that Kim delayed a decision on firing four missiles toward Guam, home to a USA air base and Navy facility.

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