By DoD News
By Terri Moon Cronk
Each nation gains security in concert with other nations, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday at a meeting that he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hosted with their Japanese counterparts at the State Department.
Mattis and Tillerson were hosts to Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera for the Security Consultative Committee meeting as part of the U.S. and Japan Consultative Committee meeting, and the four made remarks and took questions from reporters afterward.
The discussions examined how the United States and Japan would coordinate their response to the evolving regional security environment and strengthen their bilateral security and defense cooperation, and the participants also reviewed the continued realignment of U.S. armed forces in Japan, State Department officials said.
“We’ve completed warm and very productive, detailed conversations about the situation facing our nations, and we’ve achieved very highly useful results,” Mattis said of the morning’s meeting.
First, he said, the United States never takes alliances for granted, and the meeting reaffirmed the trust between the two nations. Second, the secretary said, the United States and Japan have deepened and broadened their combined military efforts by improving bilateral relations and exercises.
“The international community is speaking with one voice: North Korea must stop its dangerous actions as we work to maintain security and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula,” Mattis said.
Japan and South Korea are on the front line against the North Korean threat, he said, adding that the United States recognizes any confrontation with North Korea would pose an immediate danger to its allies and their populations.
“In light of this serious situation we face,” the secretary said, “we are accelerating implementation of the 2015 guidelines for the U.S.-Japan defense cooperation and continue to realign U.S. forces in Japan and Guam.”
New Forms of Cooperation
Both militaries also are cooperating in new ways, such emerging cooperation in space and counter space, cyber space, and ballistic missile defense and maritime security, Mattis said.
“Our two nations will demonstrate the strength of our alliance by continuing bilateral activities and by enhancing cooperation with the Republic of Korea,” he noted.
“We call on North Korea to choose a better path than one of provocation and threats,” Mattis said. “Such a path is not in its own best interest, nor in the best interest of any other nation.”