Time for a Japanese rethink on North Korea?
The North Korea situation shook Japan in April. As relations between Pyongyang and Washington deteriorated further, Japanese media talked incessantly of war and the possibility of North Korean missiles hitting Japan. Then, in mid April, the Trump administration began declaring that the United States would not ask North Korea to change its regime. North Korea also made moves of its own, for instance reestablishing the Diplomatic Commission at the Supreme People’s Assembly for the first time in 19 years on April 11. Both sides appear to have changed course in favor of diplomacy.
Looking back on the crisis in April, much of the Japanese unease can be attributed to the unpredictability of the Trump administration, rather than from any sudden change in speech and behavior on the North Korean side. Articles appearing in the Rodong Sinmun, including statements made by the press secretaries of the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have certainly not relaxed the ultra hard line that North Korea is prepared to launch pre-emptive strikes on the U.S.
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