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U.S., Japanese defense chiefs agree to put “visible” pressure on North Korea

Asahi reported extensively on a teleconference held between Secretary of Defense Mattis and Defense Minister Onodera on Wednesday, during which the two officials confirmed that the U.S. and Japan will continue to apply “visible” pressure on North Korea. The paper speculated that Washington and Tokyo plan to display their military power by expanding joint drills while continuing to make diplomatic efforts at the UN Security Council and other venues. According to Onodera, Mattis expressed the United States’ strong commitment to defending Japan through extended deterrence and stated that Washington will actively cooperate with Japan’s plan to introduce the Aegis Ashore missile defense system. Quoting President Trump as saying on his Twitter account that he is allowing Japan and South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States, the paper conjectured that talks between Washington and Tokyo on Japan’s introduction of Aegis Ashore will be accelerated.


In a related development, the paper reported on Onodera’s separate meetings on Wednesday with visiting U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Swift and Okinawa Area Coordinator Nicholson. The paper wrote that the U.S. and Japan are making preparations for expanding the scope of their joint exercises to put “visible” pressure on Pyongyang.

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