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Discord Emerges between U.S., Japan over DPRK short-range missiles

Kyodo reported on Wednesday on the disclosure by several unnamed sources that during a trilateral defense meeting between the U.S., Japan, and South Korea held in Seoul on May 9, the U.S. participants allegedly did not agree with Japan’s view that the three partners should respond firmly to North Korea’s launches of short-range ballistic missiles earlier this month. The U.S. officials reportedly explained that Washington will take a wait-and-see approach on the grounds that President Trump is exploring a third summit with Kim Jong Un. According to unnamed Japanese diplomats, while working-level USG officials are in sync with the Japanese side in their perception of the latest missile launches, they cannot openly say so out of deference to President Trump. Kyodo claimed that Prime Minister Abe and other senior GOJ officials apparently decided to tone down their criticism of North Korea to avoid showing disarray with the U.S. leader. who called the missile firings “very standard.” The wire service added that Abe’s diplomacy will be tested during the President’s trip to Japan later this month, as the Japanese leader is keen to demonstrate that he is taking a synchronized approach with the Trump administration in dealing with North Korea.     

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