Japanese officials are warning the U.S. and South Korea that the nuclear threat posed by North Korea is “critical and imminent.”
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told his U.S. and South Korean counterparts in talks on Monday that his country has deep concerns over the North’s continuing nuclear and ICBM development, especially after Pyongyang’s testing has sent missiles over the Japanese islands.
Onodera met on the sidelines of an ASEAN defense minister’s meeting in the Philippines on Monday with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-Moo.
“(The) threat posed by North Korea has grown to the unprecedented, critical and imminent level. Therefore, we have to take calibrated and different responses to meet with that level of threat,” he said, speaking through a translator, at the start of talks in the Philippines.
Song also acknowledged that “North Korea’s provocative behavior is becoming worse and worse,” in public remarks before reporters were escorted out of the meeting room.
Mattis said North Korea’s tests “threaten regional and global security.”
Mattis’ trip will include a stopover in Thailand. His trip comes ahead of President Donald Trump’s first trip to China.
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