TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the chief of naval operations of the United States, Adm. John Richardson, reaffirmed on Monday the alliance between the two countries to confront the challenges posed by North Korea.
Abe received Richardson, who is on a visit to Japan, on Monday to analyze the state of cooperation between the armed forces of both countries and the latest weapons threats by Pyongyang.
“As the North Korean situation grows tense (...) Japan and the United States have to advance cooperation to enhance the response capability and deterrence of the bilateral alliance,” Abe said after the meeting in statements reported by Kyodo agency.
In this sense, the Japanese leader highlighted the importance of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan in early November to make the alliance “stronger than ever.”
Richardson, who also met Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, praised the “ironclad” cooperation between Tokyo and Washington.
Japan and the US carried out their latest joint naval exercises a little over a month ago in waters south of the Korean peninsula, in yet another show of force against the North Korean regime, led by Kim Jong-un.
The drills involved the US’ nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, three destroyers and around 14,000 troops.
On Nov. 29, the North Korean army launched the Hwasong-15, its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile to date and which has increased Pyongyang’s capability of striking the continental US with nuclear weapons.