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Japan says McMaster’s resignation will not impact N. Korea response

  • March 23, 2018
  • , Kyodo News , 1:05 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO — The Japanese government said Friday the resignation of U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster will not impact the countries’ relationship at a time when the allies are working together to deal with the threat from North Korea.

 

“We have been closely exchanging views with the U.S. government, both between leaders and at the working level, so we don’t think there will be any particular negative influence,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

 

Foreign Minister Taro Kono said he was “a bit surprised” to see McMaster leave, as he met the three-star Army general last week during his visit to Washington.

 

But Kono said he does not expect any change to U.S. policies on North Korea, citing the “complete agreement within the government” he witnessed during his trip.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he will replace McMaster with John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations known as a hard-liner on North Korea and Iran. Bolton will take over on April 9 ahead of a planned meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in May.

 

The exit of McMaster follows Trump’s dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week. Tillerson is expected to be replaced by Mike Pompeo, the Central Intelligence Agency director.

 

“I hope I can meet both the new secretary of state and the new (national security) adviser at an early date,” Kono said.

 

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Bolton gives off “an impression that he takes a hard line on North Korea.”

 

According to a White House official, Trump and McMaster had been discussing the personnel change “for some time,” but decided to expedite the move as they “both felt it was important to have the new team in place, instead of constant speculation.”

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