A high-ranking official at the Pentagon met with the Korean press corps in the United States on November 18 (local time) and said that the US is in full support of Japan’s right of collective self-defense, considering it as Japan’s effort to contribute to regional security. The term can be defined as a right to launch a counterattack when any of its allies is subject to military attacks.
“The US government welcomes Japan’s endeavor to contribute to regional security and peace in Northeast Asia by normalizing its role,” he said, adding, “We are considering that Japan can enhance its deterrent through a change in the interpretation of the constitution and, no matter what decision it makes down the road, it should be respected as a decision of a sovereign state.”
With regard to South Korea’s pessimistic view on the matter, he explained that he is well aware of the concerns, but Japan’s right of collective self-defense is a stronger deterrent against the challenges faced by the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
“We have discussed this matter on repeated occasions and we know that it is highly important, but I would be well advised not to mention specific details like we do not tell about the sensitive things related to the ROK-US Alliance,” he continued. The official also pointed out, “Northeast Asia is facing various forms of security challenges, and one of the most urgent is the threat from North Korea’s nuclear programs and long-range ballistic missiles.”
He went on to mention the missile defense (MD) system of the US as a way of effectively tackling the threat while asking the Korean government to take part in it. “I would like to stress that the US government is not only enhancing its capabilities to protect the homeland but also striving to protect and defend its allies,” he added.