2017: US-NK Crisis and Japan’s Responsibility

Security in East Asia  -  China - USA - Japan - Korea
The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 15 | Issue 23 | Number 4 | Nov 20, 2017
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus

The US-North Korean Crisis and Japan’s Responsibility

Wada Haruki

1. The US-North Korean Crisis is deepening

In November 2017, US President Donald Trump visited East Asia. In Japan, the country
where he first stopped, he first played half round of golf with Japanese Prime Minister Abe
Shinzo as if he and Mr. Abe wished to show this visit was nothing but an expression of peaceful
friendship. They talked about the North Korean issue for “a great deal of time”.

The content of
their talks was not disclosed. In the final press conference after the Summit Prime Minister
Abe stated that he and President Trump “were in complete agreement as to the measures to
be taken upon the analysis of the latest situation of North Korea”. He said,
“Japan consistently supports the position of President Trump when he says that all options are on the table. Through the talks over two days, I once again strongly reaffirmed that Japan and U. S. are 100 percent together”.

What is the target? Abe said that they completely agreed to “enhance the pressure to a maximum level over North Korea through all possible means” in order to make North Korea abandon their nuclear program. 

In the ROK President Trump spoke in the National Assembly to the Korean people in a full voice without any reserve or restraint. In reference to the North Korean situation, he spoke of “the prison state”, “gulags”, “a country ruled by a cult”, “the brutal regime”, “a rogue state”. He dared to say, “The horror of life in North Korea is so complete that citizens pay bribes to government officials to have themselves exported abroad as slaves. They would rather be slaves than live in North Korea.” He concluded that North Korea is “a hell that no person deserves”. He called North Korean leader “a tyrant” and “dictator”. 

I say to President Trump: “As a citizen you can accuse and denounce North Korean leader,
government or system with all your words. But a US President armed with super military
power should not talk in such a way. We Japanese remember how vehemently President
Bush denounced Saddam Hussein’s regime in TV on the eve of the beginning of his Iraq War”. ...


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Wada Haruki is Emeritus Professor of the Institute of Social Science, Tokyo University and a specialist on Russia, Korea, and the Korean War.
His many books include Chosen Senso zenshi (A Complete History of the Korean War), Kita Chosen – Yugekitai kokka no genzai (North Korea –Partisan State Today), and Kitachosen Gendaishi (A Contemporary History of North Korea). His The Korean War: An International History was published in English translation in 2013.

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