vowed to consult Abe before any attack on N. Korea: sources
U.S. President Donald Trump promised Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe in telephone talks earlier this month to consult with
Japan before taking action -- including military action -- against
North Korea, bilateral diplomatic sources said Wednesday.
Trump also indicated to Abe that the United States will tighten
sanctions on Chinese firms doing business with North Korea if China
does not cooperate in addressing the threat presented by Pyongyang's
nuclear and missile development programs, the sources said.
That suggests Trump is prepared to get actively involved in
inhibiting further provocation by Pyongyang, while giving
consideration to the U.S. alliance with Japan, which has grave
concerns about the risks a U.S. attack on North Korea could pose.
In telephone conversations on April 6 and 9, the leaders agreed
that North Korea's nuclear tests and repeated ballistic missile
launches present a grave security threat and affirmed that they will
work with each other and with South Korea on the matter.
Abe said he "highly appreciates" Trump's assertion that all
options are "on the table" in dealing with North Korea. The
administration has suggested this includes military action.
According to the sources, Trump showed Abe that he understands
the risks Japan would face from a crisis occurring on the nearby
While telling Abe that the United States stands with its ally
Japan "100 percent," Trump signaled his intention to consult
Japan before taking action on North Korea, the sources said.
The sources also said the president sought Abe's agreement with
the Trump administration's security and diplomacy doctrine of "peace
through strength" -- an about-turn from the "strategic patience"
approach of his predecessor Barack Obama in dealing with North Korea.
Ahead of the discussions, the Japanese government had requested
that the United States talk with Japan on a working level before
mounting any attack on North Korea, out of a concern that retaliation
by North Korea could directly affect Japan's safety.
The leaders also confirmed the necessity of urging China to get
more involved in dealing with North Korea, the sources said.
After his summit last week with Chinese President Xi Jinping,
Trump shared with Abe that he had told the Chinese leader that
Washington has not ruled out taking unilateral action if there are
not concrete moves toward North Korea's denuclearization, the sources
According to the sources, Trump also said the United States has
prepared fresh economic sanctions on North Korea, including asset
freezes and stronger sanctions on Chinese firms that do financial
transactions with the country. (April 13)