United States Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Japan Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera met at the Pentagon on April 23.
According to release made by Pentagon, the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen the US-Japan alliance, and positively noting the increasing role the Japan Self-Defense Force is playing in regional security, including supporting the United Nations Security Council Resolution enforcement and mutual asset protection operations.
The two officials affirmed the importance of close cooperation among the US, Japan, South Korea and other like-minded nations in providing credible military backing to the maximum pressure campaign, the Pentagon statement added.
It added that Onodera and Mattis agreed to continue enhancing the alliance capability to deter and respond to any North Korean aggression.
“Our alliance remains the cornerstone for peace and security throughout the Pacific region,” Mattis said. “Together, we are carefully reviewing a possible new path to peace, and at the same time we remain vigilant. We continue to fully implement the maximum pressure campaign, and I praise Japan’s leadership, enforcing UN Security Council sanctions on the high seas.”
“Under our ironclad U.S.-Japan alliance, we must work synergistically in concert with the international community to make North Korea abandon all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner,” Onodera said.