Japan and US Prepping for Shadow Talks Following N. Korea’s Menace

Barack Obama and Japanese emperor Emperor Akihito

North Korea’s recent military show of force and one more nuclear test prompted Japan’s newly appointed defense minister to meet up with her U.S. counterpart to discuss the issue.

Tomomi Inada, who graduated law school but has zero defense experience, is preparing for her first official visit to America. Inada and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter agreed to meet this Thursday.

North Korea’s Nuclear Program an “Imminent Threat”

Early this week, she told Japan military North Korea’s nuclear testing represents a “serious and imminent threat” to the country. What’s more, Japan and China have ongoing disagreements over the disputed territory in the East China Sea.

Japan now feels that U.S. could lend a helping hand amid the new security challenges. The Land of the Rising Sun eyes other partnerships and alliances with Australia and the Philippines.

A week ago, Pyongyang performed three missile tests. One of the missiles landed relatively close to the coast of Okushiri Island off Hokkaido, the country’s second largest island.

Last month, North Korea launched another missile which landed about 150 miles (240 kilometers) off the coast of Honshu, the country’s main island where its capital city, Tokyo, lies.

But Japan is not currently worried about the missile tests, as it is about North Korea’s nuclear explosions. The United Nations pledged to penalize again the communist country just like it did in February 2016 because of a similar incident.

China May Play a Part

Last week, the Defense Department scolded China for encouraging Pyongyang to perform unruly nuclear tests. China is currently North Korea’s most important trading and diplomatic partner

In response, the Chinese said the presence of a U.S. missile defense systems in the other Korea which Beijing described as “unilateral action” would just make things worse.

Earlier this week, a foreign ministry representative said “the U.S., not China” triggered the current nuclear crisis. In the meantime, China invited Russian troops in the South China Sea for joint military exercises.

It is the first time, the two countries’ troops jointly train in the region, which suggests that two superpowers have an increasingly close relationship. Plus, both countries have a long history of disagreements with the U.S.

China’s navy officials explained the military drills are designed to defend and seize islands in the area. Additionally, the Asian country’s air force performed a similar operation above the Western Pacific early this week.

N. Korea Testing New Nuclear Weapon

North Korea recently said that the latest nuclear test enabled it to see whether it can attach a nuclear warhead to a missile. Reportedly, the test was a success, which put the country’s neighbors on high alert.

North Korea routinely threatens its neighbors, South Korea and Japan, and U.S. for interfering. Pyongyang has often argued that a preventive attack is able to stop a U.S. invasion.

Japan agreed to host 54,000 U.S. troops on Okinawa in the East China Sea, while South Korea has about 28,500 U.S. military personnel. South Koreans said Monday that another nuclear test in North Korea is very likely. Reportedly, the communist regime has built a vast network of tunnels and underground detonation stations for this purpose in recent months.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un  pledged more nuclear and missile testing by the end of the year.

Image Source: Wikimedia