Japan Would Shoot Down N Korean Missiles If It Had US Arms: Trump

Trump made the statement on day two of his 12-day Asian visit

2 min read
President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands during a joint news conference at the Akasaka Palace, Tokyo on 6 November 2017

US President Donald Trump said on Monday that Japan would shoot North Korean missiles "out of the sky" if it bought the US weaponry needed for doing so, suggesting that Tokyo take a stance it has avoided until now.

The US President is on the second day of a 12-day Asian trip that is focusing on North Korea's nuclear missile programmes and trade.

Speaking after a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump repeated his mantra that the “era of strategic patience” with North Korea was over, and said the two countries were working to counter the “dangerous aggressions.”

Trump also pressed Japan to lower its trade deficit with the United States and buy more US military hardware.

Abe, for his part, said Tokyo would shoot down missiles "if necessary".

Japan's policy is that it would only shoot down a missile if it were falling on Japanese territory, or if it were judged to pose an "existential threat" to Japan because it was aimed at a US target.

Most importantly, we’re working to counter the dangerous aggressions of the regime in North Korea. Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and launches of ballistic missiles over Japan are a threat to the civilized world and to international peace and stability.
Donald Trump

The US leader, who will visit South Korea on the trip, has rattled some allies with his vow to "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatens the United States, and with his dismissal of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.

Abe, with whom Trump has bonded through multiple summits and phone calls, repeated at the same news conference that Japan backed Trump's stance that "all options" are on the table, saying it was time to exert maximum pressure on North Korea, and that the two countries were "100 percent" together on the issue.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying, in response to Abe's comments, said that the North Korean "situation" was "already extremely complex, sensitive and weak".

"We hope that under the present circumstances, all sides’ words and actions can help reduce tensions and re-establish mutual trust, and getting the North Korean nuclear issue back on the correct track of dialogue and negotiations," she said.

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