Mullen Arrives in Tokyo to Discuss North Korean Threat

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2010 — Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived here last night to dis­cuss with Japan­ese lead­ers how to bet­ter lever­age their mil­i­tary exper­tise and improve defense coop­er­a­tion in light of North Kore­an aggres­sion.
Mullen, who flew here after a whirl­wind of meet­ings with South Kore­an lead­ers Dec. 8, not­ed dur­ing a news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day that Japan has a stake in see­ing the North Kore­an threat coun­tered.

“And they have much to offer in terms of viable train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and exper­tise,” he said. “Hav­ing been a Pacif­ic sailor for most of my career, I can attest to their skill and to their earnest desire to con­tribute to region­al secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty.”

Mullen is slat­ed to meet with Gen. Ryoichi Ori­ki, Japan­ese chief of staff, and Defense Min­is­ter Toshi­mi Kitaza­wa. The chairman’s vis­it comes as the Unit­ed States and Japan con­duct the “Keen Sword” bilat­er­al mil­i­tary exer­cise, which runs through Dec. 10. The exer­cis­es include ele­ments through­out main­land Chi­na, Oki­nawa and the sur­round­ing waters.

Mullen said yes­ter­day in Seoul that he was encour­aged that South Korea had sent mil­i­tary observers to the exer­cise. He expressed hope it will lead to more tri­lat­er­al activ­i­ties involv­ing the Unit­ed States, Japan and South Korea, as well as more mul­ti­lat­er­al engage­ment with oth­er region­al part­ners.

Dis­cus­sions and engage­ments like these “illus­trate and deep­en our rela­tion­ships,” Mullen said, and cement the coun­tries’ uni­fied posi­tion on the North Kore­an threat. Mullen also rec­og­nized the impor­tance oth­er ele­ments of nation­al pow­er in apply­ing a “whole-of-gov­ern­ment” response to the chal­lenge.

He not­ed the “tru­ly his­toric” tri­lat­er­al sum­mit Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton host­ed in Wash­ing­ton Dec. 6 in which she, South Kore­an For­eign Min­is­ter Kim Sung-hwan and Japan­ese For­eign Min­is­ter Sei­ji Mae­hara dis­cussed the sit­u­a­tion.

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

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