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SECURITY

DM Kono has yet to meet with South Korean counterpart

  • October 12, 2019
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 3
  • JMH Translation

As defense minister, Taro Kono is just as active in building relationships with his overseas counterparts as he was when he was foreign minister. Just one month after being appointed to the post, he has already held teleconferences with four countries’ defense ministers. But he has not yet been able to meet in person or by phone with his South Korean counterpart, which has announced its termination of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan.

 

As minister of defense, he has thus far held teleconferences with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami, Australian Minister of Defense Linda Karen Reynolds and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, who also acts as minister of national defense.

 

Kono contacted his U.S. counterpart again soon after North Korea’s firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Oct. 2. In dealing with Pyongyang’s repeated launches of ballistic missiles, collaboration with South Korea is also important, but Kono has not yet held a teleconference with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo. Japan did not respond to South Korea’s request to share information based on the GSOMIA right after Pyongyang’s SLBM launch. (Abridged)

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