Delaying drills does not reduce pressure on N.Korea: Japan

TOKYO: Japan stressed Friday that a decision by the US and South Korea to delay a huge military drill was not tantamount to an easing of the pressure on North Korea.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo, Washington, and Seoul remained committed to applying maximum pressure on the secretive regime.

“The decision on the timing of the joint exercise is not designed to compromise the increased pressure on North Korea,” he said.

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On Thursday, US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-In agreed to delay the giant Foal Eagle and Key Resolve joint military drills until after the Winter Olympics, which begin in Pyeongchang on February 9.

Japan, a key US ally in the region, has been singled out by Pyongyang amid threats to “sink” the country into the sea and to turn it into “ashes.”

In a New Year speech on Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the security situation facing his country was the worst since 1945 and vowed “maximum pressure” on North Korea to force it into dropping its missile and nuclear programmes.

“It is not too much to say that the security surrounding our country is the most severe since the end of World War II,” said the prime minister.

“We will strengthen our defence that is truly needed for protection of our people.”

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