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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 13, 2018 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
(There was a statement on the overview of the Cabinet meeting.)
 
Q&As
 
REPORTER: I have a question about North-South relations. North Korea has invited President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) to make a visit. It would appear that moves are being made toward dialogue, without addressing the nuclear and missile issues. What is the Government’s evaluation of the current situation?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government appreciates that the ROK and North Korea have cooperated with each other to facilitate North Korea’s participation in the Games, with a view to making the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games a success, and that there have been exchanges between the ROK and North Korea. North Korea, however, continues to pursue its nuclear and missile development. In addition, in the large-scale military parade that was held in Pyongyang on February 8, four types of missiles were displayed, which are thought to be the same type of ballistic missiles that were launched last year. This is the reality of North Korea and it is important not to be blinded by any diplomatic charm offensive.
 
REPORTER: I have a related question. Vice President Pence of the United States has stated that the United States might engage in dialogue with North Korea, if North Korea were to seek it, suggesting the possibility of dialogue with North Korea even as no progress has been made towards denuclearization. This statement comes immediately after Prime Minister Abe and Vice President Pence last week confirmed the policy of strengthening pressure on North Korea, so what is the Government’s view on the intentions behind this statement by Vice President Pence?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on individual statements made by senior government officials of other countries. In any event, we have spent considerable time analyzing the latest information about North Korea and closely coordinating our policies, through multiple interactions with the Government of the United States, including summit meetings with President Trump, as well as the opportunities to exchange views afforded by the recent visit to Japan by Vice President Pence and his attendance at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Working closely with the United States, the Government of Japan will continue to use all possible means to apply maximum pressure on North Korea in order to make it changes its policies.
 
REPORTER: I have a related question. It is being reported that, following the PyeongChang Olympics, President Bach of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is planning to visit North Korea. It has been reported that this visit was agreed on among the IOC, the ROK and North Korea, and North Korea extended an invitation to President Bach. What is the Government’s analysis of North Korea’s aims in doing so?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware of the reports on this matter and will continue to monitor developments. I am not in a position to speak about North Korea’s intentions. In any event, it is important not to be blinded by North Korea’s diplomatic charm offensive.
 
REPORTER: With regard to the indication shown by Vice President Pence that the U.S. might engage in dialogue with North Korea, were such intentions also expressed in the meeting between Prime Minister Abe and Vice President Pence?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Prime Minister Abe and Vice President Pence spent considerable time together in their meeting. It was also confirmed that the two countries will continue to coordinate our policies going forward.
 
REPORTER: Prime Minister Abe spoke with Kim Yong Nam of North Korea at a reception hosted by President Moon and his spouse in PyeongChang on February 9, during his visit to the ROK. Apparently, the Prime Minister conveyed Japan’s stance with regard to the abduction issue and also the nuclear and missile issues. Could you tell us how North Korea responded?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Prime Minister Abe had the opportunity to speak briefly. The Prime Minister conveyed Japan’s stance on the abduction, nuclear and missile issues. In particular, he strongly demanded a resolution to the abduction issue, including the return home of all abductees. Although I would like to avoid going into further details about what was discussed, Japan will continue to use all means to place maximum pressure on North Korea to make it change its policies and spare no effort in seeking to resolve the nuclear and missile issues, and above all the abduction issue.
 
REPORTER: The ROK has indicated that it is willing to talk with North Korea. Japan has frequently reiterated its policy of applying maximum pressure to make North Korea change its policies. Is there any possibility that Japan will also change its policy and seek dialogue?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Japan’s basic stance remains unchanged, namely that we seek to make North Korea change its policies by applying pressure on it. To date, through Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, and through joint efforts with countries like China and Russia, the United Nations adopted quite severe resolutions. Our basic policy is to ensure that such resolutions are firmly implemented. While we always see such calls for dialogue with North Korea, it should be remembered that, in the past, North Korea has failed to fulfill its obligations under international agreements multiple times, such as the Agreed Framework between the United States and North Korea of 1994 and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks of 2005. Bearing this in mind, it is absolutely meaningless to engage in dialogue for the sake of dialogue. Accordingly, there is no change to our policy of working to create a situation in which all means are used to increase pressure on North Korea to make it changes its policies.
 
REPORTER: If that is the case, will the Government be working with the United States to encourage the ROK to not engage in dialogue?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan will continue to focus efforts on implementing the relevant resolutions adopted by the United Nations and applying pressure on North Korea to make it change its policies. There are also indications that the application of pressure is having an effect in addressing the various issues. In any event, the Government has no intention of changing its basic stance.
 
REPORTER: Let us confirm one point. We have heard a series of comments from leaders of both the ROK and the United States that could be seen as signaling their readiness to engage in dialogue. Are we to understand that the Government of Japan considers that these comments do not indicate a departure from the existing policy of applying pressure on North Korea?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, it is a fact that the Prime Minister has spent considerable time engaging in close coordination of policies with Vice President Pence prior to his visit to the ROK.
 
(Abridged)
 

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