Sunday’s Asahi reported on its one-on-one interview with Marshall Billingslea, special presidential envoy for arms control, that was held on Friday in Washington ahead of his planned trip to Asia this week. The paper quoted Ambassador Billingslea as saying that if he has a chance to meet with members of Japan’s new administration, he would like to discuss how Japan, as an ally of the United States, will respond to China’s rapid military expansion and nuclear ambitions. The paper wrote that Ambassador Billingslea, who assumed his current post in April, is planning to visit South Korea on Sept. 27-28, adding that he is likely to hold talks with senior officials of the Defense and Foreign Ministries if he visits Japan as well. The paper wrote that the U.S. envoy reportedly said it is important to understand and be in agreement on China’s military expansion and threats.
The paper also wrote that during his Asian trip Ambassador Billingslea is planning to brief the U.S.’s Asian allies on Russia’s buildup of short- and medium-range nuclear capabilities and the status of U.S.-Russian negotiations on the New START treaty, which expires in February 2021. The paper quoted the special envoy as saying that it is important for Japan and other nations to call on Russia to agree on the framework proposed by the United States and urge China to participate in the discussions.