U.S., Japan met to talk nuclear deterrence

With North Korea threatening nuclear attack, U.S. and Japanese defense officials and diplomats met for three days at a U.S. Navy base this week where U.S. officials renewed their commitment to protect Japan with an American nuclear umbrella. The talks were held Tuesday through Thursday at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, in Washington State, and visiting Japanese ...

ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

With North Korea threatening nuclear attack, U.S. and Japanese defense officials and diplomats met for three days at a U.S. Navy base this week where U.S. officials renewed their commitment to protect Japan with an American nuclear umbrella.

The talks were held Tuesday through Thursday at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, in Washington State, and visiting Japanese officials were taken for a show-and-tell to see an American nuclear attack submarine and Trident missiles, one of the three legs of the so-called nuclear triad.

Details of the meeting are outlined in a Pentagon statement obtained exclusively by the E-Ring before its public release, on Friday.

With North Korea threatening nuclear attack, U.S. and Japanese defense officials and diplomats met for three days at a U.S. Navy base this week where U.S. officials renewed their commitment to protect Japan with an American nuclear umbrella.

The talks were held Tuesday through Thursday at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, in Washington State, and visiting Japanese officials were taken for a show-and-tell to see an American nuclear attack submarine and Trident missiles, one of the three legs of the so-called nuclear triad.

Details of the meeting are outlined in a Pentagon statement obtained exclusively by the E-Ring before its public release, on Friday.

The meeting, known as the Extended Deterrence Dialogue, is the latest biannual occasion where U.S. officials explain the Pentagon’s nuclear capabilities to Japanese leaders, assuring them that as part of the alliance with the U.S., Japan does not need to have its own nuclear weapons.

As the talks wrapped on Thursday, a member of Congress sparked a firestorm when he revealed during a hearing with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that a Defense Intelligence Agency report from March assessed a "moderate probability" that North Korea was able to fit a nuclear weapon atop a ballistic missile. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper later pushed back on the report, saying it was not an intelligence community conclusion and cautioning that North Korea had not "demonstrated" such capability.

Without mentioning North Korea, China or any specific Asian country, the forthcoming Pentagon statement says the meeting “reinforces the critical role of the U.S.-Japan alliance in deterring and responding to strategic threats in the East Asia region. Through frank discussion, transparent information exchange and interaction with local Navy sailors, the EDD also makes clear to our allies that U.S. extended deterrence continues to be credible, capable and enduring.”

Japan currently is protected from missile threats in part by the Navy’s Aegis anti-missile system, constantly deployed aboard U.S. destroyers in the Western Pacific. The U.S. further explained its naval capabilities, at the base, according to the readout.

Representing the U.S. side from the State Department: Anita Friedt, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear and strategic policy, and James Zumwalt, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.

From DOD: Elaine Bunn, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, and Amy Searight, principal director for East Asia policy at OSD.  

“The Japanese delegation was led by Takeo Akiba, the deputy director general of the North American Affairs bureau, Ministry Of Foreign Affairs and Ro Manabe, the deputy director general of the Defense Policy Bureau, Ministry of Defense.”

Kevin Baron is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy, covering defense and military issues in Washington. He is also vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. Baron previously was a national security staff writer for National Journal, covering the "business of war." Prior to that, Baron worked in the resident daily Pentagon press corps as a reporter/photographer for Stars and Stripes. For three years with Stripes, Baron covered the building and traveled overseas extensively with the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, covering official visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, in more than a dozen countries. From 2004 to 2009, Baron was the Boston Globe Washington bureau's investigative projects reporter, covering defense, international affairs, lobbying and other issues. Before that, he muckraked at the Center for Public Integrity. Baron has reported on assignment from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He was won two Polk Awards, among other honors. He has a B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Baron has lived in the Washington area since 1998 and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, three sons, and the family dog, The Edge. Twitter: @FPBaron

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