WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that the United States has made efforts to ensure that North Korea’s nuclear threat does not motivate Japan and South Korea to arm themselves with atomic weapons.
“We are working with Japan and (South Korea) in order to make sure they don’t feel so threatened that they move toward nuclearization in self-help,” Kerry told a congressional session on the State Department’s fiscal 2015 budget outline.
He was briefing members of a subcommittee under the Senate Appropriations Committee on Washington’s diplomatic efforts involving Japan, South Korea and China aimed at dealing with North Korea’s nuclear threat.
“We’re bolstering our bedrock alliances with South Korea and Japan” and developing deeper partnerships with countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, he said.
Kerry also said he and his Beijing counterparts have held very serious discussions about what the Chinese can do “in order to have a greater impact on the denuclearization process” for North Korea.
Japan will host a foreign ministerial meeting April 11 and 12 in Hiroshima to promote nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and Rose Gottemoeller, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, are among those who will participate in the meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative.
“Just before a planned visit to Japan by President (Barack) Obama, I think it is beneficial that the United States will take part in the NPDI meeting to be held in atomic-bombed Hiroshima,” Kishida told reporters, referring to Obama’s trip to Japan in late April.
“I hope the meeting will contribute to international debate to achieve a world without nuclear weapons,” he said.