Vice President Mike Pence has met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He was visiting Japan amid heightening tensions in the North Korea situation. While the Trump administration is not ruling out a military attack, the two governments should work together to find a peaceful solution.
How to make North Korea give up its development of nuclear arms and missiles to remove the security threat it poses is a key question for Japan and the neighboring countries.
In his meeting with Pence, Abe stressed the need to “put pressure on North Korea to engage in serious dialogue.”
On the other hand, the Trump administration has sent a strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to put military pressure on the DPRK.
While Abe’s remarks reflected the Japanese government’s policy of “dialogue and pressure,” he also indicated support for the U.S.’s military pressure and readiness to cooperate actively.
The reality of international politics is that North Korea will not give up its development of nuclear weapons and missiles in response to calls for dialogue, and unfortunately, it will not even come to the negotiating table without the presence of military force.
Still, there is nothing to be gained by reacting to provocation and heightening tension as a result.
If an unforeseen incident develops into full-fledged military conflict on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, with its many U.S. bases, will not come off unscathed.
North Korea conducted a missile test on April 16, the day after it held a military parade to mark the 105th birthday of the late President Kim Il Sung, but did not conduct the much-feared sixth nuclear test.
It resurrected its Diplomatic Commission after 19 years at the recent Supreme People’s Assembly. There is a possibility that it is preparing to embark on a diplomatic strategy to break out of isolation.
While it is uncertain whether North Korea will engage in further provocative actions on April 25 to mark the 85th founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Army, it is necessary to gauge changes in that country carefully.
China has a particularly important role to play in prodding North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.
The Japanese and U.S. governments refer to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty as the “cornerstone of Northeast Asia.” If so, the two countries should work closely to make all possible efforts to obtain China’s cooperation. (Slightly abridged)