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President Biden, PM Kishida agree to boost deterrence of U.S.-Japan Alliance

All national dailies wrote that President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida spoke by phone for about 25 minutes on Tuesday evening following North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile earlier in the day. The papers wrote that Kishida told reporters afterward that he shared the view with the President that North Korea’s missile test posed “a blatant and grave challenge” to the peace and stability of Japan, the region, and the international community and expressed his resolve to drastically strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities. Kishida also said that he and the President reaffirmed their intention to boost the deterrence and response capabilities of the U.S.-Japan Alliance and promote trilateral cooperation with South Korea. Yomiuri wrote that Kishida told the press that President Biden expressed the United States’ full cooperation in resolving the abduction issue.

 

NHK ran a similar story, highlighting a White House readout of the session saying that President Biden reinforced the United States’ ironclad commitment to Japan’s defense and that the leaders jointly condemned the DPRK’s missile test in the strongest terms, recognizing the launch as a danger to the Japanese people, destabilizing to the region, and a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions. “They confirmed they would continue to closely coordinate their immediate and longer-term response bilaterally, trilaterally with the Republic of Korea, and with the international community,” the statement added.

 

The papers wrote that ahead of his call with the President, Kishida held talks with Adm. John Aquilino, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and confirmed continued close cooperation between the U.S. military and the SDF through joint exercises and other means. The papers also noted that Foreign Minister Hayashi held a teleconference with Secretary of State Blinken, and Defense Minister Hamada spoke by phone with Secretary of Defense Austin on Tuesday. According to NHK, Defense Minister Hamada conveyed the Kishida administration’s renewed commitment to bolstering the nation’s defense capabilities in response to the latest DPRK provocation by saying that all options will be on the table, including the acquisition of counterstrike capabilities. Secretary Austin underscored that America’s extended deterrence for Japan is ironclad.

 

The broadcaster also reported that the vice foreign ministers of the United States, Japan, and South Korea spoke by phone on Tuesday evening and agreed to assemble in Tokyo in late October to discuss trilateral coordination for realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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