After a day of high-level meetings, U.S. and Japanese officials said they had agreed to boost defenses against North Korea's growing military threat, according to Los Angelis Times
Japan will "augment its defense capabilities" while Washington "remains committed to deploying its most advanced capabilities to Japan," the State Department said.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis met their Japanese counterparts, Taro Kono and Itsunori Onodera, as part of an annual security review.
Most of the talks focused on North Korea's rapid advances in developing nuclear arms and ballistic missiles.
“In light of the threat of North Korea, the four of us confirmed the importance of the unwavering U.S. commitment to extended deterrence,” Onodera told reporters.
Tillerson reiterated the U.S. interest in resuming a long-stalled diplomatic dialogue with Pyongyang in an effort to stop its nuclear development. North Korea has shown no sign of complying with the U.S. conditions.
“Our effort is to cause them to want to engage in talks but engage in talks with an understanding that these talks will lead to a different conclusion than talks of the past," Tillerson said.
President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchanged inflammatory threats last week that stoked fears of war. But both sides seemed to back down this week, and renewed emphasis is being given to diplomatic efforts.
The meetings took place after Stephen K. Bannon, Trump's strategic advisor, told a magazine that there was no military solution to the North Korea problem.
"They got us," Bannon told the American Prospect.
Tillerson declined to comment on Bannon's statements but said pressure on North Korea was stronger than ever and included Pyongyang's ally, China. Beijing has banned most imports from North Korea to comply with United Nations sanctions.
"This kind of threat has to be backed by a strong military consequence if North Korea chooses wrongly," Tillerson added.
Japan hosts more than 50,000 U.S. military personnel and is in range of North Korean missiles.
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