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Editorial: “True worth of alliance” to be put to the test at U.S.-DPRK summit

President Donald Trump and Workers’ Party of Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un will meet in Singapore on June 12.


Trump’s goal should be clear: the categorical removal of the threat posed by North Korea to the international community.


He needs to make North Korea agree to the “complete, verifiable, and irreversible” elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles of all ranges, and related facilities, and take action promptly to implement this.


We also hope that he will confront Kim on resolving the abduction issue to pave the way for direct Japan-DPRK negotiations.


The Korean Central News Agency reported that the U.S.-DPRK summit will discuss the establishment of a new bilateral relationship, building a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and so forth.


However, the primary goal should be North Korea’s denuclearization. There can be no peace on the Korean Peninsula if North Korea does not completely abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. The same is also true for the abduction issue.


Trump has mentioned the possibility of declaring the end of the state of armistice of the Korean War at the U.S.-DPRK summit.


Overzealousness even before the outcome of the summit is confirmed should be avoided at all costs. If North Korea comes to think that it can “fool the United States again,” this will only make genuine denuclearization less attainable.


We would also like to note that the outcome of the U.S.-DPRK talks may bring about a radical change in the security environment on the Korean Peninsula that has been maintained following the Korean War.


If the talks lead to a withdrawal or a substantial downsizing of U.S. Forces Korea, Tsushima will become the frontline for Japan. It may have to shoulder an increased diplomatic and defense burden.


While the threat of North Korea’s nuclear arms and missiles needs to be removed, “peace dividends” would still be elusive even if this were realized. This is because Japan would also need to enhance ballistic missile defense against China.


Trump must avoid compromises that would sacrifice Japan’s security, such as allowing North Korea to possess medium-range ballistic missiles. This would pose the extremely serious risk of undermining the Japanese people’s trust in the Japan-U.S. alliance.


The Japan-U.S. alliance that allows the U.S. to have military bases in Japan and NATO form the foundation of the U.S.-led world order. Instability in the alliance would only benefit China, which is pursuing maritime hegemony. It is important not to lose sight of the fact that the “true worth of the Japan-U.S. alliance” is being put to the test.

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