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Japan-U.S. ties should adapt to changes in situations: Stilwell

Misawa, Aomori Pref., July 13 (Jiji Press)–David Stilwell, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, indicated on Saturday the need for Japan-U.S relations to adapt to changes in surrounding situations.

His comments came after U.S. President Donald Trump suggested the need to review the Japan-U.S. security treaty, claiming that it is putting disproportionate burdens on the U.S. side.

“Alliance relationships are not static, they change constantly,” Stilwell, who is visiting Japan for the first time since assuming the post, said at a press conference at the U.S. military’s Misawa base in Aomori Prefecture, northeastern Japan.

“They change because of the regional background and other players, other powers,” he said, adding that the Japan-U.S. relationship “will change to accommodate the threat and conditions.”

Comparing with the 1990s, when he was working at the Misawa base, Stilwell noted changes in situations in the South China Sea, the Indo-Pacific region and the Middle East.

A key to maintaining an alliance is to understand “where our interests align and overlap” and “complement” with each other, Stilwell stressed.

On the U.S. calls for other countries to join a coalition to safeguard strategic waters off Iran and Yemen, Stilwell said, “Japanese are very interested in, but I have nothing to offer.”

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