Gates Stresses Need to Prevent North Korean Provocations

TOKYO, Jan. 13, 2011 — Pre­vent­ing anoth­er North Korea provo­ca­tion of South Korea is in everyone’s inter­est, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said here today.
In the past year, North Korea tor­pe­doed the South Kore­an ship Cheo­nan, killing 46 sailors, and shelled the island of Yeong­pe­ong, killing two civil­ians and two South Kore­an ser­vice mem­bers.

“Every coun­try has the right to pro­tect itself and defend itself against an unpro­voked attack,” Gates said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at the Japan­ese defense min­istry. “I think the key on the Kore­an penin­su­la, as I dis­cussed in Chi­na and here in Japan, is to pre­vent anoth­er provo­ca­tion from happening.” 

The dan­ger of esca­la­tion of force exists, the sec­re­tary said, and the Unit­ed States, Japan, Chi­na and South Korea must work togeth­er to ensure sta­bil­i­ty and peace on the Kore­an peninsula. 

North Korea has said it is will­ing to nego­ti­ate with South, Gates not­ed, but he added that the Pyongyang gov­ern­ment must demon­strate it will change its behavior. 

“This requires that the North cease its bel­liger­ent behav­ior, and its provo­ca­tions that have killed inno­cent vic­tims, both mil­i­tary and civil­ian, in Korea,” Gates said. “We are sup­port­ive of nego­ti­a­tions and engage­ment between North and South but there must be con­crete evi­dence on the part of the North that they are seri­ous about these nego­ti­a­tions.” Gates has spo­ken with Chi­nese lead­ers about the sit­u­a­tion on the penin­su­la, and his meet­ings today exam­ined the sub­ject. He will vis­it Seoul tomor­row to talk with South Kore­an lead­ers on the way ahead. 

“All four coun­tries have a com­mon inter­est in a peace­ful out­come and sta­bil­i­ty on the penin­su­la, and in each place we’ve talked about how to pur­sue that,” he said. 

The sec­re­tary said wants to break the cycle of North Kore­an vio­lence fol­lowed by croc­o­dile tears. 

“We have seen this cycle over and over again, and I think the objec­tive we all have in com­mon is how to pre­vent anoth­er provo­ca­tion from tak­ing place. How do we move the process for­ward on the penin­su­la in a way that shows the North Kore­ans are seri­ous about engage­ment, seri­ous about nego­ti­a­tions and that this is not just a repeat of what we have seen so often in the past after a provo­ca­tion of try­ing to re-set the clock back to what it was before?” he said. 

In Chi­na, he called for con­crete North Kore­an steps, sug­gest­ing that a mora­to­ri­um on nuclear and mis­sile work would be a good place to start. 

Gates met with Japan­ese Prime Min­is­ter Nao­to Kan, For­eign Min­is­ter Sei­ji Mae­hara and Defense Min­is­ter Toshi­mi Kitaza­wa. In addi­tion to North Korea, Gates briefed the men on his vis­it to Bei­jing and meet­ings with Chi­nese leaders. 

He also dis­cussed the chal­lenges asso­ci­at­ed with China’s grow­ing mil­i­tary strength, the U.S.-Japanese col­lab­o­ra­tion on bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense and in fur­ther­ing U.S.-Japanese coop­er­a­tion in areas such as coun­ter­pira­cy, peace­keep­ing dis­as­ter response, human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and oth­er impor­tant multi­na­tion­al efforts. These efforts include Japan’s sub­stan­tial finan­cial con­tri­bu­tions to Afghanistan. 

The meet­ings also cov­ered a dis­cus­sion on new Japan­ese defense pro­gram guide­lines. He called the study “a for­ward-think­ing doc­u­ment that reaf­firms the impor­tance of our alliance, includ­ing the U.S. mil­i­tary pres­ence, to Japan’s defense.” 

The lead­ers also dis­cussed the U.S.-Japan alliance and its new vision statement. 

“It has been about five years since the last vision state­ment, and the world and cir­cum­stances in North­east Asia have evolved a good deal since then,” Gates said. “So it is appro­pri­ate to update our alliance at this time.” 

The U.S. and Japan­ese lead­ers also dis­cussed the relo­ca­tion of U.S. forces in Okinawa. 

Gates is sched­uled to make a major speech tomor­row on the U.S‑Japanese alliance at Keio Uni­ver­si­ty before fly­ing to South Korea. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →