Russia confronts Tokyo over defence alliance with Washington, US

Russia is concerned that Japan could be allowing Washington to use its territory as a base for the US military in north Asia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov furthered that the concern was that this was being initiated under the pretext of countering North Korea.

The Russian foreign minister’s remarks came at a joint press conference with Japanese counterpart, Tara Kono, following talks between the ministers in Moscow. These talks prompted Kono to defend Japan’s position toward North Korea, and its ties with the US.

Japan aimed to focus upon resolving a territorial dispute between the countries, which is decades old, however Lavrov’s comments on North Korea were said to cast a shadow over the meeting.

Lavrov said: “We are expressing deep concern, with facts to back it up, that Japan along with South Korea is becoming a territory for the deployment of elements of the US global missile defence system which is being rolled out in that region under the pretext of the North Korean threat.

“We have no problems directly with Japan, we do not see risks there. We see risks because of the proliferation of a global US missile defence system on the territory of countries that neighbour Russia, including Japan. We are alarmed that in the last two months when North Korea conducted no tests or rocket launches, it seemed that Washington was not happy about that, and tried to do things that would irritate and provoke Pyongyang.”

Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Kono, responded that Japan, and its allies, were not seeking regime change in North Korea. He added that Tokyo had to act to defend itself after Pyongyang test-fired missiles which flew over Japan’s territory.

Source: Pan European Network, Photo by Alexander Nemenov