2003 November 19 Wednesday
Rumsfeld Assures Japan US Will Not Be Unilaterally Weak With North Korea

While Democrats carp at Bush for pursuing a unilateral policy toward North Korea (see again the Marmot's critique of Josh Marshall complaints of Bush Administration unilateralism in North Korea policy for a great example of this) Bill Gertz's report on a press conference with Donald Rumsfeld and Shigeru Ishiba is a useful reminder that the Japanese fear US weakness toward North Korea more than unilateral US belligerence.

Mr. Rumsfeld, appearing at a news conference with Japan Defense Agency Director Shigeru Ishiba, also said that any U.S. security guarantees provided to Pyongyang would not be made at Tokyo's expense.

Check out the text of the press conference of Shigeru Ishiba and Donald Rumsfeld.

Q: Yes sir, Bill Gertz with the Washington Times. My question is for both of you. First, itís about the nuclear issue. It's been reported that North Korea is prepared to accept some U.S. security guarantees. Mr. Ishiba, are you concerned that any agreement with North Korea could lead to a weakening of Japanís security, and Mr. Rumsfeld, since North Korea has violated the í94 agreement, can North Korea be trusted with any future nuclear agreement?

ISHIBA: For the U.S. to assure in what way the security and safety for North Korea -- I understand that study is ongoing within the United States. Now, this is just, on a hypothetical question and with the guarantee of security to be given to the North Korea and the U.S. has a guarantee of implementing the obligations of the defense for Japan. These two are separate questions. One thing is being given does not mean that other will be undermined. That is not the relationship between the two. With the assurance or guarantee given to the North Korea, and if there is an unjust attack made on Japan, U.S., I am sure, will have no change in its intention to work together with Japan to defend our nation. I believe we are in total agreement between myself and Mr. Secretary.

RUMSFELD: We are indeed in total agreement and the Ė it is a hypothetical question because the United States government has not gotten to that point. I can say this. The United States government is not going to make any arrangements with any other country, that one or others, that would in any way undermine our security agreement with Japan. Second, with respect to trust, I have always kind of agreed with former President Reagan --trust but verify.

Ishiba appears to stumble here and yet still manages to get in the point that the US has obligated itself to defend Japan in a sentence about a deal with North Korea. The Japanese are afraid the US will be too wimpish in dealing with North Korea and the Japanese do not want to see the United States cut a bilateral deal with North Korea that is not verifiable. Think about that. While the Bush Administration gets criticised for unilateral hawkishness by the Left in the United States and Europe over in East Asia Donald Rumsfeld offers assurances that the United States will not be unilaterally wimpish with the very country that many Bush Administration critics claim the Bushies are being too belligerent toward. While the Chinese and South Koreans try to paint the US as the responsible party for dealing with North Korea to resolve a dispute that is mainly between the US and North Korea over in Japan the emphasis is on the idea that the US has an obligation to defend Japan and had better not make a deal that results in Japan becoming less secure.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 November 19 11:15 AM  Korea


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