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GOJ officials comment on suspension of U.S.-ROK drills

  • June 19, 2018
  • , NHK
  • JMH Summary

NHK reported that while Defense Minister Onodera expressed understanding for the official announcement by the U.S. and South Korean governments of the cancellation of the U.S.-ROK joint military drills in August, he also said that Japan will call on the U.S. and South Korea to continue to hold drills that are necessary to maintain deterrence in the region. “I think the decision was made from the viewpoint of having the defense authorities of the U.S. and South Korea support diplomatic efforts to resolve the North Korean issue,” he was reported as saying. However, he also reportedly said: “The joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea are an important pillar for ensuring regional peace and stability, and we will continue to work closely with the U.S. and South Korea. I have confirmed with Secretary Mattis that we will steadily carry out U.S.-Japan joint military exercises.” He added: “It is inconceivable that North Korea would conduct ballistic missile or nuclear tests while engaged in negotiations with the U.S., but we will closely monitor the situation since North Korea has yet to take any concrete actions.” 


According to the broadcaster, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga said: “I understand that the announcement was made based on the commitment made by President Trump at the U.S.-DPRK summit. Secretary of State Pompeo has said that the suspension of the U.S.-ROK joint military drills is premised on the continuation of productive and well-intentioned negotiations and if it is determined that that is not the case, the President’s commitment to suspend the drills will no longer be effective.” Suga added: “In any case, the U.S. position is to maintain its commitment to the defense of its allies and its commitment to the U.S.-Japan alliance and the posture of the U.S. forces in Japan remains the same. We will continue to work closely with the U.S. and South Korea for regional peace and stability.”


The network said Foreign Minister Kono told reporters: “We understand that the drills will be suspended as long as North Korea is negotiating in good faith. If it is determined that North Korea is not negotiating in good faith, the drills will be resumed. There will be no impact on U.S.-Japan joint military exercises.”

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