The Japanese government has reacted calmly to Vice President Mike Pence’s mention of direct dialogue with North Korea in an interview with a U.S. paper. A senior Foreign Ministry official said: “The U.S. government’s policy that North Korea’s change of policies, including its nuclear and missile policy, is the prerequisite for dialogue remains unchanged.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Pence agreed at their meeting in Tokyo on Feb. 7 on the policy of making North Korea change its policies by applying maximum pressure. The Japanese government intends to continue to cooperate with the U.S. government in persuading the international community to apply greater pressure.
In this connection, Foreign Minister Taro Kono stressed to reporters in Singapore on Feb. 12: “We must make sure that we are not deceived by the smile diplomacy taking advantage of the Olympic Games.”