• Kyodo


U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told Japanese lawmakers Wednesday a North Korean missile attack on Japan would result in an immediate U.S. counterattack.

Armitage said the United States would regard a North Korean missile attack on Japan as an attack on a U.S. ally and take countermeasures, according to Eisei Ito and Seiji Maehara, both members of the Democratic Party of Japan.

The DPJ members said that during their meeting, Armitage warned that North Korea may intensify provocative actions regarding the standoff over its nuclear arms program.

The Japan-U.S. security treaty obliges the U.S. to defend Japan.

Ito holds the portfolio of foreign minister in the largest opposition party’s shadow Cabinet. Maehara holds the shadow Cabinet post of national security minister.

Since tensions on the Korean Peninsula were sparked last October when North Korea admitted to conducting a uranium enrichment program for nuclear arms, Pyongyang has been escalating moves to advance its nuclear capability.

The DPJ lawmakers said they asked the U.S. to refrain from attacking Iraq without a new U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force.

Armitage was quoted as replying that Iraq has failed to meet a final opportunity to disarm and that it is possible to use force against Iraq under U.N. Security Council Resolution 678.

The resolution, adopted after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, stipulates Iraq’s postwar obligations.

Armitage said the U.S. will continue to support Japan’s bid to become a permanent member of the Security Council, whatever action Japan takes on the Iraqi issue, according to the DPJ members.

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