U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson mentioned on Dec. 12 the possibility of holding dialogue with North Korea, which is persisting in its nuclear and missile development, “without preconditions.” The Japanese government is perplexed at what this really means since it has closely cooperated with the U.S. administration in applying pressure on North Korea.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stated at a news conference on Dec. 13: “The leaders of Japan and the U.S. are 100% in agreement in their thinking. Japan’s policy of closely cooperating with the U.S. to apply maximum pressure remains unchanged.”
Concerns have been voiced in the Japanese government on differences between President Donald Trump and Tillerson on the policy of applying pressure. A ministerial level UN Security Council meeting on the North Korea issue is taking place in New York on Dec. 15. Foreign Minister Taro Kono is also scheduled to meet with Tillerson. A senior Foreign Ministry official says that Kono will “remind Tillerson about maintaining the pressure policy.”