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Ambassador Sasae says dialogue with North Korea premature

NHK reported on its website this morning that Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Sasae held his last press conference in Washington on Tuesday before retiring next month. He said that holding substantive dialogue with North Korea is premature given that there has been no change in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Ambassador Sasae reportedly expressed concern by saying: “The strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance is being tested.”

 

Concerning North Korea’s positive stance toward dialogue with the U.S., Sasae reportedly said: “It has to be a meaningful dialogue,” premised on the DPRK’s abandoning its missile program. Sasae stressed the importance of holding meaningful dialogue through continued pressure on the North. He also said the alliance between the U.S. and Japan has been strengthened during his term. The ambassador pointed out that building a constructive relationship with China will be a challenge, saying: “The rise of China has become obvious, and the U.S. is on the alert.” The network added that Sasae will be replaced by former Vice Foreign Minister Sugiyama.

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