The U.S.-Japan Alliance: The Cornerstone for Stability in the Asia Pacific

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Secretary Tillerson and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Pose for a Photo Before Their Meeting in Tokyo.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before their bilateral meeting in Tokyo, Japan, on March 16, 2017 [U.S. Embassy Tokyo/State Department Photo].

The U.S.-Japan Alliance: The Cornerstone for Stability in the Asia Pacific

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Tokyo, Japan on March 16, 2017. In his first trip to the East Asia and Pacific region, he met with senior Japanese officials to discuss a range of bilateral and multilateral issues, including strategic coordination to address the advancing nuclear and missile threat from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).  The Secretary also seized the opportunity to reaffirm the Administration’s commitment to further broaden and enhance U.S. economic and security interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, speaks beside his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida during a joint press conference after their talks at the Iikura Guesthouse in Tokyo Thursday, March 16, 2017.

The Secretary held a comprehensive meeting with Japan’s Foreign Minister Kishida where the two leaders discussed several high-level policy issues. During a press conference following their meeting, Secretary Tillerson said, “These discussions have affirmed the friendship between Japan and the United States is strong and enduring and will continue under the Trump administration. We have deep, deep economic ties and we’ll keep working together to sustain and strengthen a relationship that is fair for both of our countries.”

The two leaders also discussed how to respond to the provocations and threats presented by North Korea. Secretary Tillerson commented, “We will work with Japan on shared regional and global objectives, including strong security cooperation within the U.S.-Japan alliance; affirming a rules-based approach to maritime governance; and deepening American, Japanese, and South Korean trilateral cooperation in the face of North Korea’s dangerous and unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

During this meeting, the Secretary discussed the Trump Administration’s priority of expanding trilateral cooperation with Republic of Korea noting, “Trilateral cooperation allows our three nations to coordinate actions on major regional and global problems, and more effectively counter the threats posed by North Korea. We intend to continue our coordination in regard to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 2270 and 2231, which imposed robust and comprehensive sanctions on North Korea to inhibit its campaign to develop operational nuclear and missile capabilities.”

While in Japan, Secretary Tillerson also met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where he highlighted this visit as an important opportunity to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance and build on the recent Summit between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe. Secretary Tillerson asserted, “The U.S.-Japan alliance represents the cornerstone for stability in Northeast Asia and the Asia Pacific because of our shared values, our shared commitment to the rule of law, our shared commitment to countries following international norms, and we look forward to strengthening that alliance further.” 

Editor's Note: This entry also appeared in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.com.

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