Japan concerned over possible suspension of US-S. Korea drills

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera expressed concern on Wednesday over US President Donald Trump’s remarks to freeze US-South Korean joint military exercises.

“The drills and the US military stationed in South Korea play vital roles for the security of East Asia. I hope to share this view between Japan and the US, and among Japan, US and South Korea,” Onodera told reporters.

His comment came as Trump announced Tuesday after his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that Washington will suspend its regular military drills with Seoul as long as talks are underway between the US and the North. Moreover, the president did not rule out a reduction or withdrawal of US troops in South Korea in the future, which could have a huge impact on the security of the entire East Asia region, including Japan, Korea, North Korea and China.

Onodera stressed that there is no change in Japan’s policy of maintaining pressure on North Korea after the Trump-Kim summit.

“Our final goal is the resolution of nuclear, missile and past abduction issues. We will urge North Korea to make policy changes in a visible way,” the minister noted.

Source: Kuwait News Agency