U.S. urges Japan to deepen involvement in tripartite military cooperation

16:34, December 09, 2010      

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The United States' top military officer Navy Admiral Mike Mullen said on Thursday that increasing trilateral cooperation between the United States, Japan and South Korea is urgent in light of recent tensions on the Korean Peninsular, although he maintained that any reaction should be considered and not aimed at escalating conflict.

Mullen, the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a news conference in Tokyo after his talks with Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa that ramping up cooperation was vital in restoring peace in the region, following recent deadly artillery exchanges between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

"It's much better addressed with all of us together," said Mullen, whose visit to Japan comes following a similar trip to the ROK and during Japan's week-long defense exercises with the U.S. in which the ROK are participating as observers.

Mullen also highlighted the importance of further joint military drills between the three countries, claiming that Northeast Asia today is more volatile than it's been in much of the last 50 years.

However, whilst the U.S. and Japan have been key security allies since the end of World War II, Japan's own Self Defense Forces are constrained by Article 9 of Japan's post-war pacifist constitution.

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