Speaking on Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama committed to defending Japan under its umbrella of nuclear protection, meaning its ally would be protected from any potential attacks. The reassuring pledge came one day after North Korea successfully conducted a third nuclear test, despite international condemnation. The White House says Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have also spoken on the phone and discussed ways to respond to Pyongyang’s “provocative violations” of international obligations.
Obama and Abe also agreed to cooperate on seeking further UN sanctions against North Korea, as Tuesday’s detonation went against extended deterrents that were just put forth in January. The U.S., Japan, South Korea, Russia, and even China, the North’s only ally, jointly condemned the nuclear test, which has been confirmed to be much more powerful than those conducted in 2006 and 2009.
While Abe is due to visit Washington later this month for the first time since his December election, Obama confirmed that the U.S. “remains steadfast in its defense commitments to Japan,” including deterrence from attacks under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. Japan, the U.S., and South Korea are in agreement that the UN Security Council should enact new sanctions against the North in order to impede the isolated country’s nuclear weapons programs. At his State of the Union address, Obama said he would take “firm action” against North Korea’s latest provocation.[via Channel News Asia]