Gen. Ryoichi Oriki, chairman of Japan's Joint Chiefs of Staff, greets U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a visit Tokyo, Japan on Dec. 9, 2010. Mullen traveled to Japan to discuss with Japanese leaders how to better leverage their military expertise and improve defense cooperation in light of North Korean aggression. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
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U.S. Dept. Defense
Mullen: Trilateral Cooperation Best Response to North Korea
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
TOKYO, Dec. 9, 2010 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met here today with Japanese leaders to encourage closer bi and multilateral cooperation, not only to confront current threats like North Korea, but also to tap new opportunities to advance regional security.
Meeting with Gen. Ryoichi Oriki, Japanese chief of staff, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa and Vice Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen underscored the importance of the longstanding U.S.-Japan alliance and the desire to reinvigorate it during “these very critical times.”
Mullen, who traveled here after meeting with South Korean leaders in Seoul, recognized the volatility of the region, much of it owed to “the reckless behavior of the North Korean regime, enabled by their friends in China.”
But Mullen said it’s also up to Japan, South Korea and the United States, as well as other regional nations, to work together in a way that that not only sends a clear deterrent message to North Korea and China, but also promotes longer-term regional security.
“The strong preference is that this be done peacefully, that we don’t get into a situation that escalates, and that leaders and countries step forward to ensure that doesn’t happen,” he said.
Noting the 42 nations contributing troops in Afghanistan, Mullen called multilateral cooperation “the way of the future.”
“No single nation can address all of today’s challenges alone,” he said. “Even if someone could, there is a greater strength to be found in the diversity of talent and skill presented through multilateral cooperation.”
In doing so, the chairman warned against letting tactical issues drive strategic thought – with short-term objectives obscuring long-term outcomes.
“It was through such a view that we approached our discussions in Seoul, and it is through this view that I believe Japan and the United States must continue to approach our own bilateral relations,” he said. “What is necessary, over the long term, is a larger vision for a stable, secure and even more prosperous region -- not based on threats but on opportunities, not mired in fear, but alighted through mutual trust and cooperation.”
Japan and the United States have shared this type of trust and cooperation for 50 years, Mullen said, and will continue building on it as they explore ways to strengthen their alliance for the future.
“Yesterday I was in Seoul, reaffirming in the face of this hostility our strong commitment to the defense of South Korea and to security on the peninsula,” he said.
“Today, I come to Tokyo for much the same reason: to reaffirm America's unbreakable bond with the people of Japan, to reassure you of our enduring defense obligations under Article Five of the mutual defense treaty, and to our pledge to look for ways to improve cooperation across the full spectrum of military operations.”