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Trump Says Japan Will Shoot North Korean Missiles “Out Of The Sky” After Lockheed Deal

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

President Donald Trump’s 12-day Asia tour kicked off in Japan last night, where discussions between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were punctuated by the deadly mass shooting that claimed 26 lives in a small-town Texas church. But not before Trump could engage in some customary saber-rattling aimed at his favorite verbal sparring partner, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump’s meeting with Abe was the first time the two world leaders have met face to face since late September, when they discussed strategies for containing the North Korean nuclear threat on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, including how to pressure China and Russia to increase economic pressure on their restive neighbor, according to Reuters.

Not much has changed since then; though South Korean and US intelligence have detected signs of movement around some of the North’s missile-launch sites, the country has so far refrained from engaging in any more missile or nuclear tests since it fired a medium-range missile over Japan on Sept. 15.

However, that didn’t stop Trump from repeating his mantra the “era of strategic patience” with North Korea was over, and said the two countries were working to counter the “dangerous aggressions,” during a press conference following a leadership summit between the two men.

“He (Abe) will shoot them out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the United States,“ Trump said, referring to the North Korean missiles. ”The prime minister is going to be purchasing massive amounts of military equipment, as he should. And we make the best military equipment by far."

Abe, for his part, said Tokyo would shoot down missiles “if necessary”.

Trump was replying to a question that was posed to Abe – namely how he would respond to a quote from Trump from a recent interview in which he said Japan was a “samurai” nation and should have shot down the North Korean missiles.

Japan’s policy is that it would only shoot down a missile if it were falling on Japanese territory or if it were judged to pose an “existential threat” to Japan because it was aimed at a US target, Bloomberg reported.

Trump once again defended his aggressive rhetoric, arguing that passivity in the face of the burgeoning threat posed by North Korea led to today’s diplomatic standoff.

“Most importantly, we’re working to counter the dangerous aggressions of the regime in North Korea,” Trump said, calling Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and recent launches of ballistic missiles over Japan “a threat to the civilized world and to international peace and stability”.

“Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong. But look what’s happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years. Look where we are right now,” he said, adding that "no dictator" should underestimate US resolve.

Trump is on the first stop of a five-nation swing through Asia where he plans to push his message of fair trade and freedom in the region backed by a strong U.S. military presence. The U.S.’s $69 billion trade deficit with Japan is its second-highest behind only China, fueled largely by American imports of cars and electronics.

North Korea’s recent actions have raised the stakes in the most critical international challenge of Trump’s presidency.

The US leader, who will visit South Korea on the trip, has repeatedly promised to “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatens the US, while dismissing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “rocket man” on a suicide mission during a speech before the UN General Assembly in September.

Abe, with whom Trump has bonded through multiple summits and phone calls, repeated at the same news conference that Japan backed Trump’s stance that “all options” are on the table, saying it was time to exert maximum pressure on North Korea and the two countries were “100 percent” together on the issue. Abe said Japan is buying Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35A fighter jets and missile interceptors from Raytheon Co. – deals that had previously been announced. He said Japan would buy more Aegis equipment from the U.S. for its ships.

Abe also discussed improving Japan's defense capabilities as the country moves further beyond constitutional restrictions on militarism imposed after World War II.

“With the North Korean situation becoming more severe, and the Asia-Pacific security environment becoming harsher, I think we need to improve Japan’s defense capabilities in terms of quality and quantity,” Abe said.

Meanwhile, the North Korean regime is reportedly monitoring Trump’s Asia tour “very closely” and has said that, if he does anything crazy, the North will “respond powerfully.” To wit, in what seems like a deliberate attempt to aggravate the North during Trump’s visit (perhaps in the hope of provoking another missile test that would underscore Trump’s calls for regional cooperation on the issue) three US aircraft carriers and several nuclear submarines are taking part in joint military exercises with the Japanese and South Koreans in the waters off the Korean peninsula.


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