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Japan struggles as Trump shifts stance on N. Korea

  • May 13, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 8:49 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, May 13 (Jiji Press) — The Japanese government is struggling to decide its response to North Korea’s firing of short-range ballistic missiles last week, following U.S. President Donald Trump’s shifting of his stance toward the communist country.

On Friday, Tokyo recognized the projectiles launched by North Korea on Thursday as ballistic missiles, following a statement issued by the U.S. Defense Department. Japan also made a strong protest to Pyongyang.

In talks with reporters at the White House on Thursday, Trump expressed displeasure over the North Korea’s firing, saying that nobody was happy.

The U.S. leader, however, shifted his stance the following day. “They’re short-range and I don’t consider that a breach of trust at all,” Trump said in an interview with U.S. media outlet Politico on Friday. Asked if he was “angry or frustrated” by the North Korean move, Trump said, “Not at all.”

At a Japanese parliamentary committee meeting on Monday, Yuichi Goto, a member of the opposition Democratic Party for the People, pointed to the difference in stance over the matter between Japan and the United States.

“Trump’s remarks were made under his relationship of trust with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga replied.

Shortly after a meeting between Suga and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Washington on Friday, the Japanese government said the two shared the view that North Korea’s firing of ballistic missiles is extremely regrettable.

Repeatedly asked by Goto at the parliamentary meeting whether this was true, Suga avoided clarifying details, saying only, “I’m not in a position to express a third country’s view.”

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