SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, everyone. I want to first thank Foreign Minister Kono and Defense Minister Iwaya for coming to Washington for this critical meeting between close allies. I want to thank also, of course, Acting Secretary Shanahan for his participation, although he didn’t have to come quite as far to be here.
The alliance between Japan and the United States is a truly remarkable thing. It’s an alliance that two peoples have built and strengthened over generations, and it has adapted to meet every challenge that our two countries have faced. President Trump intends to maintain and strengthen our alliance, and the close relationships he’s forged with Prime Minister Abe have served as a firm foundation for the conversations that the four of us had this morning.
Our talks affirmed that the United States-Japan alliance remains ironclad and increasingly complex. We’ve pursued ways to defend the freedoms of the American and Japanese people, and promote our shared value sets.
At the top of the list is our shared diplomatic efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.
In cooperation with the international community, and in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions, we will continue to press North Korea to abandon all of its weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles, and related programs and facilities. We’ll continue to enforce all sanctions against North Korea, and encourage every country to do so.
But our efforts at peace and security go far beyond North Korea. Early in his presidency, President Trump made a real pivot to Asia, and declared America’s intentions for a free and open Indo-Pacific. Our two countries’ latest national security and defense strategies confirm we share this vision for the Indo-Pacific region, and they demonstrate our broad and increasing strategic alignment.
Acting Secretary Shanahan and I shared our concerns with Japan that geopolitical competition and coercive attempts to undermine international rules, norms, and institutions – especially from China – present challenges to the Alliance and to continued peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.
To ensure security against all manner of threats, our two countries agreed on the need for a closer network of alliances and partners.
The United States and Japan will continue to advance trilateral and multilateral cooperation with other regional partners, notably the Republic of Korea, Australia, India, and Southeast Asian countries.
Further, on the bilateral issues of concern, the United States and Japan continue to oppose any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administration of the Senkaku Islands, and we reaffirmed that Article V of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty applies to those islands.
We also oppose militarization and other destabilizing activities in the South China Sea and in the East China Sea. We urge all parties to fully respect legal and diplomatic processes, and pursue the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes without resorting to the threat of or use of force. All parties must abide by the Law of the Sea Convention.
Both the United States and Japan are committed to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, in a way that improves operational readiness and deterrent capabilities, while also mitigating the impact on local communities. U.S. force posture in the region will remain robust and grounded in a clear-eyed assessment of the threats. We also welcome Japan’s proactive steps to boost its defense capabilities, and I’ll let Acting Secretary Shanahan speak more about that matter.
The United States and Japan affirmed that international law applies in cyberspace and that a cyberattack could, in certain circumstances, constitute an armed attack under Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. We stressed the need to work together to protect classified information, maintain technological superiority, and preserve our shared defense and economic advantages from theft and exploitation.
And finally, we confirmed that the plan to construct the Futenma replacement at the camp – area adjacent waters is the only solution that addresses operational, political, financial, and strategic concerns and avoids the continued use of the Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma. We understand our strong determination to achieve its completion as soon as possible.
So as you can see from this morning, we talked about a broad array of things, we had many topics to discuss; that’s a good thing. It means our great democracies are continuing robust cooperation. As Secretary of State, I am proud to represent the American people in this essential partnership built on respect and shared democratic principle, as well as shared interest.
Foreign Minister Kono, I invite you to speak.
FOREIGN MINISTER KONO: (Via interpreter) Today’s 2+2 was held at an extremely critical timing for deciding the future direction of diplomacy and defense of Japan and U.S. I would like to thank Secretary Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan. By the end of last year, in response to the increasingly complex security environment, Japan established the new defense program guideline. At the end of February this year, the second U.S.-North Korea summit was held, and based on that it is also a critical timing to align the response to the North Korean situations between Japan and U.S. Against this background, by next week Prime Minister Abe will visit U.S. and next month President Trump is expected to come to Japan as the first state guest after the accession to the throne of our new emperor.
At this kind of critical timing, the foreign ministers for foreign affairs and defense of Japan and U.S. have come together and have discussed the future of U.S.-Japan alliance and have confirmed the direction of strength and deterrence and response capabilities, and this is extremely meaningful.
There were three main achievements as follows: First of all, free and open Indo-Pacific – that a U.S.-Japan alliance is now the cornerstone of peace security and prosperity of the entire Indo-Pacific region. Under this basic recognition, we agreed that Japan and U.S. will work together in order to realize free and open Indo-Pacific. Both U.S. and Japan will conduct joint trainings and capability buildings and others with partner countries in order to jointly expand their presence in the region.
Secondly, cross-domain cooperation. Based on the strategic policy documents of Japan and U.S., including Japan’s new national defense program guideline, we agreed to strengthen cross-domain cooperation, including new domains like space and cyber, and to further strengthen our alliance.
Third is North Korean matter. In accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions, we agree to endeavor to realize CVID of all weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles of all ranges, and confirm that Japan and U.S. will continue to incorporate a full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, including dealing with ship-to-ship transfers.
We reaffirmed that U.S. forces’ posture in the region will continue to be robust and agreed to deepen our dialogues on deterrence in the region, ensuring security. We agreed to closely collaborate between Japan and U.S. and amongst Japan, U.S., and South Korea. We agree that to demand North Korea for the immediate resolution of the abduction of Japanese nationals.
Realignment of the U.S. forces is also an important issue while maintaining the deterrence of U.S.-Japan alliance, but also to reduce impact on local communities such as Okinawa. The governments of both Japan and U.S. will steadily promote the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.
In particular about the construction of Futenma replacement facilities, significant progress in relation to the construction are welcomed in order to avoid the continued use of Futenma. You confirmed that relocation to Henoko is the only solution. I discussed that while steadily implementing these realignment of U.S. forces, crimes and accidents must be prevented. Regarding the issues on the operation and SOFA of U.S. forces, I said it is important advance one by one and to reduce impact on local residents.
In this way, there were major achievements at the 2+2 today. We will report these outcomes to our respective leaders and ensure that it will lead to the success of our prime minister’s visit to the U.S. and the visit of President Trump to Japan as our state guest. We will firmly advance our efforts to further strengthen the deterrence and response capability of the U.S.-Japan alliance and further reinforce U.S.-Japan alliance going forward.
May I invite Acting Secretary Shanahan for his remarks.
ACTING SECRETARY SHANAHAN: Thank you, Minister Kono. Secretary Pompeo, appreciate your leadership and partnership in hosting today’s productive discussions. Minister Kono, Minister Iwaya, thank you for both making the long trip to Washington. The strength of the U.S.-Japan relationship gives us the ability to solve difficult problems and create opportunity. Today’s meeting is yet another testament to our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
When I think of the strength of the alliance, the cornerstone of the region, I come back to our shared understanding of the challenges we face in an increasingly complex security environment and our ability to address them together. Nowhere is this synergy clearer than in the close alignment between Japan’s National Defense Program Guidelines and our U.S. National Defense Strategy. The harmony between them is not confined to paper. It is evident in the real world integration of our complementary strategic visions. That integration was the focus this morning, and it will be our focus during my bilateral meeting with Minister Iwaya at the Pentagon this afternoon.
We know this integration is not additive. It’s multiplicative, exponentially enhancing our cooperation, capability, and capacity in moving our alliance forward. This will be critical as we face diverse challenges in the region from China and North Korea – and China, in particular, using increasingly coercive behavior in an effort to undermine the rules-based international order. Today we discussed on how to leverage geography and integrate mutual objectives to address these challenges. That starts with maintaining a ready, capable, and combat-credible force in the region as a frontline deterrent, and realigning U.S. forces in Japan to improve operational readiness and minimize impact on local communities, as Secretary Pompeo and Minister Kono mentioned. It also includes continuing and expanding our work together, both bilaterally and multilaterally through joint exercises and presence operations in the region, port calls with partners, and building partner capacity, maritime domain awareness, law enforcement, and more.
And as Secretary Pompeo highlighted, we remain aligned in our pursuit of the full, final, verified denuclearization of North Korea. Ministers, thank you for Japan’s continued contributions to UN Security Council Resolution efforts to counter illicit ship-to-ship transfers. As we look to the future, however, we cannot only think in terms of geography, for emerging domains transcend borders. Cyberspace and outer space know no geographical bounds. In the U.S., we rely on space for almost everything, from powering our $20 trillion economy to enabling military operations. And while cyber, like space, carries enormous potential, it also is a vulnerability. These domains are absolutely critical for securing our future, and we are not sitting back while our Chinese and Russian counterparts or competitors aim to disrupt and weaponize them. These domains offer real opportunities for alliance collaboration. We are aligned in our view on this, and we are working together to adapt, integrate, and deploy capabilities faster.
As we charge ahead on those fronts, we are also building capacity across all domains. We welcome and appreciate Japan’s continued procurement of U.S. systems that promote interoperability, from F-35s and Aegis Ashore to V-22s and more. In order to bear the most fruit, our synergy must not be limited to our governments. Success also requires further integration of our industrial bases and protection of critical infrastructure. Information security is at the very core of our defense relationship, and we recognize and appreciate Japan’s efforts to protect its national telecommunications infrastructure from high-risk 5G companies by restricting government procurement and mandating cybersecurity standards.
As we look ahead, protecting the integrity and security of our national networks and critical infrastructure cannot just be a whole-of-government or inter-government effort. It must be a whole-of-society approach. We must remain ever vigilant on this issue, and I know we will. Mr. Kono, Mr. Iwaya, I greatly value the insights you offered on these and many other topics today. Thank you for your enduring partnership and strong leadership. Minister Iwaya, I look forward to continuing our work at the Pentagon this afternoon. Thank you.
DEFENSE MINISTER IWAYA: (Via interpreter) Acting Secretary Shanahan, thank you very much. First, I would like to thank the support extended by the U.S. military on the crash of SDF’s F35-A last week. I am proud that two nations are of the relationship in which we can help each other in difficult times.
As Japan’s National Defense Program Guideline was completed last December, strategic documents from both Japan and U.S. that set out the direction in security area were all in place. Two countries’ directions are aligned, making it a unique opportunity to further evolve the U.S.-Japan alliance.
At this juncture today, four ministers responsible for foreign and defense affairs in Japan and U.S. assembled here to have meaningful discussions on Japan-U.S. alliance and its way of being and measures to enhance its deterrence and counter capabilities. I would like to thank Acting Secretary Shanahan and Secretary Pompeo for the leadership to make this meeting a success.
In the meeting, we confirmed that the U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of the region’s peace, stability, and prosperity. We also confirmed that we will make efforts to realize free and open Indo-Pacific. At the same time, the alliance is facing a difficult international situation, and in order for the alliance to fulfill its role, more unified response between Japan and U.S. is important.
Regarding the region’s security environment, all four ministers were able to share the same concerns related to the current situation in East and South China Sea. Japan and U.S. will work together to ensure peace and stability in the region. Also, regarding the North Korean issue, we agreed to work towards complete, verifiable, and irreversible abolishment of all of weapon of mass destruction and all ballistic missiles of all range.
Japan and U.S. will be the linchpin in the effort to fully implement the UN Security Council resolution, including measures against ship-to-ship transfer and work with other nations. In the area of security and defense cooperation, which is the foundation of Japan-U.S. alliance, we confirmed that we will enhance the cooperation in the space-related capabilities with the cross- domain operation cooperation. We agreed to promote cooperation for space situational awareness capability enhancement. We also agreed to enhance collaboration in the cyber area and confirmed that cyber attacks could constitute an armed attack for the purpose of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security treaty.
Also, we agreed to work together in further promoting streamlining of FMS process and introduction of high-performance equipment to Japan and affirmed the importance of intelligence security. Furthermore, we agreed to further deepen our cooperation in operation.
U.S. forces in Japan serves a central role in the alliance. For this reason, we share the intention to steadily implement the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan and, while maintaining the U.S. force deterrent capability, to continue to mitigate impact on local community, including Okinawa. Particularly about the construction of the Futenma replacement facility, I reported its status and foreign ministers welcomed the significant progress while reconfirmed that the plan to relocate to Henoko is the only solution that avoids the continued use of Futenma air station. Alongside Minister Kono, I also requested to prevent recurrence of incidents and accidents and to minimize the impact of the U.S. forces operation in local communities, including noise made by incoming aircraft.
Japan-U.S. alliance is stronger than ever. If we can enhance it further and integrate the power of two nations, we can deter any and all threats and respond to any situation. With today’s result, we will work to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance.
Again, I would like to thank Acting Secretary Shanahan and Secretary Pompeo. Thank you very much.
MS ORTAGUS: Okay, we’re going to start with questions. Shaun from AFP.
QUESTION: Hi, thank you. Secretary Pompeo, the other day North Korean state media had some rather choice words about you. I presume you’ve seen them. I can repeat them if you want to, but I want to see your reaction to that. Do you think – what do you think was the motivation behind them? And as far as their demand itself, would you actually be willing to step aside for the negotiations if North Korea prefers that or wants to deal with President Trump directly only?
And if I can ask a similar question on North Korea to Minister Kono, asking about the – you mentioned about the abduction issue, and looking at the results of the Hanoi summit, how optimistic are you right now for the future of an agreement between Japan and North Korea specifically?
And for the defense minister and defense secretary, Minister Iwaya, if I could expand on your comment about the F-35, could you and Secretary Shanahan explain what you plan now in terms of locating the F-35 submarines, et cetera? What’s the way to fund them? And do you have any concern that U.S. adversaries, namely China and Russia, could actually have access to the technology from the F-35 there under the sea? Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So, yes, first question to me. Nothing’s changed. We’re continuing to work to negotiate. I’m still in charge of the team. President Trump’s obviously in charge of the overall effort, but it will be my team and Special Representative Biegun will continue to lead the U.S. efforts to achieve what Chairman Kim committed to do back in June of last year, which was to denuclearize. As I’ve said before, he’s made that commitment to President Trump multiple times. He’s made it to me personally half a dozen times, and I’m convinced we still have a real opportunity to achieve that outcome, and our diplomatic team will continue to remain in the lead.
FOREIGN MINISTER KONO: (Via interpreter) President Trump has raised this abduction issue vis-a-vis Kim Jong-un at Hanoi. Well, this is a issue between Japan and North Korea, so eventually the prime minister, if there’s a chance, will see Kim Jong-un and talk about these issues. Japan is ready to normalize the relationship with North Korea when this missile, nuclear, and abduction issues are taken care of, and our position has not been changed. So at this moment, there is no set schedule for the summit meeting between Japan and North Korea, but we will continue to work with – on this issue with the United States. Thank you.
DEFENSE MINISTER IWAYA: (Via interpreter) Now the question for me was about F-35 and its accident. Since the accident, Maritime Self-Defense Force, and the Coast Guard, and U.S. military vessels and aircrafts are participating in the operation of a search and rescue, and that continues today. This is a very important aircraft, so we would like to locate the aircraft as soon as we can and salvage it, pull it out. But this search and rescue and investigation that ensues – of course, Japan will lead the investigation, but we’re hoping and also it is indispensable to have the support of the U.S. So while we do that, we would like to find the root cause of the accident.
ACTING SECRETARY SHANAHAN: I would just echo those comments and add to the fact that we are in full support of Japan’s lead on the investigation, and I have full confidence that the asset is being – that we’ll recover it, and the situation is being properly managed.
And I’d maybe add to your question around FMS and the current procurement situation. The National Defense Program Guideline that Japan has put together, we’re integrating with the National Defense Strategy. And when we talk about strategy, there are three elements that we’re working together, and it really formulates a set of objectives. And we’re looking at aligning geography, capacity, and capability. And in terms of capacity, there’s the current assets or equipment that they buy, whether it’s F-35s, B-22, Aegis Ashore, and the work there is aligning budgets and streamlining the FMS procurement process.
Today when we’re in the Pentagon, we’re going to talk more about these new domains, what can our industry, based on how we develop policy, do in the areas of cyber, space, and autonomy. Industrial base in Japan has worked closely with the American industrial base. We see this as a security opportunity and an industrial opportunity.
MS SHINO: (Via interpreter) Mr. Niwa from Kyodo.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you. Niwa of Kyodo News. Minister Kono and Secretary Kono, my question is about North Korea. In addition to criticizing Secretary Pompeo, Chairman Kim is reported to have observed the launch test of a new tactic: a guided weapon. Do you take it as provocation? And nuclear missile abandonment to ask North Korea – is it necessary to further strengthen the sanctions?
Plus, Secretary Pompeo, in Japan the most important issue is the abduction of national – Japanese nationals. In Vietnam, in the Hanoi summit, President Trump did raise the matter to Chairman Kim, but what was the reaction of Kim Jong-un? Prime Minister Abe and Kim Jong-un – Kim Jong-un is interested in direct communication?
FOREIGN MINISTER KONO: The United States and Japan have agreed that we need to implement Security Council resolution until North Korea CVID all the weapons of mass destruction and the missile of all ranges. And we agree that we need to take care of the issue of ships-to-ship transfer, and we need to work with the other partner countries to prevent this ships-to-ship transfer. I will not comment on so-called the new weapons of North Korea, but unless they take concrete steps towards the CVID of nuclear weapons and missiles, there are going to be no bright future for North Korea. Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So I’d actually – I want to comment on the question you asked Foreign Minister Kono. We agree with that, that the mission set remains the same. The United States and Japan are deeply connected, and we’ve talked about that. South Koreans as well. The mission set to denuclearize North Korea, nothing has changed, nothing that’s changed from Singapore to Hanoi, or Hanoi to now. That is, we’ve made progress, but our mission set has not changed a single bit.
With respect to the issue that President Trump raised, he not only raised it with Chairman Kim, he’s raised it in every conversation that we’ve had. We know the importance of this to Japan; it is – therefore it’s important to us as well. I don’t want to talk about the response that was given, but suffice to say I think he was aware of this issue before it was raised. He acknowledged the issue, and you should know that the United States will continue to raise this issue each time we have a conversation.
MS ORTAGUS: Rich Edson, Fox News.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Mr. Secretary, you just commented that the United States, the world will continue enforcing sanctions against North Korea. Chairman Kim has repeatedly and publicly demanded that there be some sanctions relief ahead of full denuclearization. Do you think this process can continue to move forward absent the U.S. or the West giving some sanctions relief to North Korea? And also, the Russian Government has just commented that it’s not possible that Russia interferes in the affairs of other states. Your response to that? And will you discuss the findings of the special counsel’s report with the Russian Government? Thank you.
Oh, and also to Mr. Foreign Minister: Would Japan rule out a relaxation of sanctions ahead of full denuclearization? Thank you.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes. Your – to your first question. Second, Russia interferes in a number of places. I’ve talked about it most recently in Venezuela, but the – they’re impacting Ukraine. The work that they’ve done to interfere with elections around the world, not only ours in 2016 but others, is serious, and there are real interferences. I don’t think there’s been a discussion between a senior U.S. official and Russians in this administration where we have not raised this issue about our concern about Russia’s interference in our elections. So your question, your third question was when I engage with the Russians, will I raise the issues of the Mueller report. We will talk about the steadfast requirement that Russia not engage in activity that impacts the capacity of our democracy to be successful. And their interference on our election creates risk there, and we will make very clear to them this is unacceptable behavior. And as you’ve seen from this administration, we will take tough actions which raise the cost for Russian malign activity, and we’ll continue to do that.
FOREIGN MINISTER KONO: Let me reiterate that our international community need to fully implement Security Council resolutions until North Korea CVID weapons of all – all the weapons of mass destruction and all their missile – no change at all. Thank you.
MS SHINO: (In Japanese.)
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you. Kono from NHK. Acting Secretary Shanahan and Mr. Iwaya, while China enhances military capability, what was the significance of the agreement that you will cooperate in space and cyber new domains for the security of Japan? Especially, please tell me about the significance of the cyber attacks being under – covered by a security treaty Article 5. And regarding F-35A and host nation support, what was the specific discussion during the 2+2?
And Acting Secretary Shanahan, what is your thought on the host nation support currently?
DEFENSE MINISTER IWAYA: (Via interpreter) I would like to answer first. Not just China, but different countries are pursuing superiority in technologies that back up the capability in new domains such as space and cyber and electromagnetic spectrum. So during this 2+2 meeting, we agreed that it is quite important to cooperate in the cross-domain capability building. And this alignment in our direction will be the foundation of our alliance going forward, specifically in the cyberspace.
In the space capability cooperation, we agreed to promote cooperation in the development of deep-space radar by Japan and hosting U.S. space situational awareness, SSA capability, and underpins Quasi-Zenith Satellite System to improve SSA capability. Also, this is quite significant from the perspective of a stable use of space.
In the cyber area, as we mentioned, there are cases where cyber attacks could constitute an armed attack for the purpose of Article 5 of U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, and we agreed on that. And this is significant from the perspective of deterrence.
And regarding F-35, regarding the crash accident, I expressed gratitude for the U.S. support and handling of the accident and requested their support as necessary in the investigation.
Now regarding the host nation support, in the discussion today we did not discuss this topic. At this point, we have not started the next special treaty negotiation. This is something that we will continue our discussion going forward with the U.S.
ACTING SECRETARY SHANAHAN: Good. No – well, said. Let me just add a few comments. And the framing comment is this: Our strategies are aligned, and we’re working to take the budgets that have been put in place and execute. This is really – our discussions are less about what are the frameworks than how do we operationalize our work. The defense minister talked about some of the basic building blocks, but our multiple conversations – and this isn’t the first conversation – is how do we really develop capability in the cyber and space domain, because it’s an area where we’re not limited by geography. And the capabilities industrially and militarily are very complementary. So later on today, we’ll continue to build out the details of the execution.
I would just say on the host nation agreement, we will develop something that’s fair. And we’ve had a long history of being able to negotiate, and I expect that we’ll do that well, but it will be fair.