U.S., Japanese Leaders Discuss Terrorism, Iraq, North Korea
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2002 Terrorism, Iraq and North Korea were the main topics of discussions here today between senior American and Japanese officials.
Secretary of State Colin Powell and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz met today with their Japanese counterparts, Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and Minister of State for Defense Shigeru Ishiba, under the auspices of the U.S.-Japan Consultative Committee.
Also known as "two-plus-two" talks, last year's meetings were canceled because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Powell noted in a news conference after the talks.
He said the parties discussed "the full range of issues that come within the scope of our security alliance." He noted Japan has supported the war on terrorism.
Japan has provided fleet refueling capabilities and has contributed ships and aircraft for resupply and transport missions, according to U.S. Central Command officials.
Wolfowitz noted that since Operation Enduring Freedom began, Japan has contributed more than 60 million gallons of fuel to the operation. Japan has also pledged $500 million to Afghan reconstruction efforts, including roads, education and humanitarian projects.
"These efforts are as important as anything we do in the military side in contributing to long-term stability in Afghanistan," Wolfowitz said.
The two countries agreed that Iraq should fully comply with all U.N. Security Council resolutions. "We also agreed to coordinate closely should Iraq fail to cooperate with the international community," Powell said.
Kawaguchi agreed, saying through a translator, "Our countries will cooperate and coordinate even more closely should the international community need to take further action in accordance with the U.N. resolution."
In response to a reporter's question, Powell said that should Iraq once again fail to cooperate with a U.N. resolution, then "the international community has an obligation to act and do whatever is necessary to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction."
The foreign minister noted that, in the event of military conflict in Iraq, Japan is considering providing humanitarian support to refugees that would surely overwhelm neighboring countries. He said it is up to Japan "as a responsible member of the international community" to consider what response to an Iraqi breach of the U.N. resolution Japan would take.
North Korea's recent declarations on their nuclear weapons program are of particular concern to both Americans and Japanese. Powell noted President Bush has repeatedly offered to assist North Korea with its poverty, starvation and other economic problems.
"That effort to move forward in dialogue with North Korea has been stopped and put back by North Korea's actions with respect to enriching uranium," he said, adding that North Korea "must respect" its international nonproliferation agreements.
Kawaguchi said there is "no fundamental difference of position" between the United States and Japan on this issue.