Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Thursday, March 24, 2022, 8:27 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, North Korea launched what is believed to have been a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Following on from the ICBM launches recently, the fact that North Korea took such a provocative action and that the missile landed in Japan’s EEZ poses a serious and urgent threat to Japan’s security, is a blatant and grave challenge to the international community, and is a violence that cannot possibly be ignored.
Therefore, I just held a Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Telephone Talk and exchange of views for 30 minutes with U.S. Secretary of State Blinken, who is currently in Brussels with President Biden.
Secretary Blinken and I strongly condemned North Korea’s repeated ICBM launches, particularly the one today. We shared the recognition that North Korea’s strengthening of its nuclear and missile activities is a blatant and grave threat to the international community, and confirmed that we will resolutely respond with close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation, including responding in the United Nations Security Council, toward the complete denuclearization of North Korea in accordance with the Security Council resolutions.
We agreed on the point that particularly as the international community focuses on responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we should not allow the misconception that there is an open door of opportunity for North Korea to advance provocative actions.
In addition, I reaffirmed with Secretary Blinken that taking into account the regional security environment that is growing increasingly severe, strengthening the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance is essential, and Japan and the United States will continue to cooperate closely.
Furthermore, Secretary Blinken expressed gratitude for Japan’s leadership, cooperation, and collaboration regarding the situation in Ukraine.
That is all from me.
Reporter: I believe various actions have been taken to get North Korea to agree to engage in dialogue, and pressure has been applied. As North Korea’s experiments continue, did you have any discussion on the future approach with Secretary Blinken during this meeting?
Minister Hayashi: We will consider our future response, including sanctions and the like, due to the recent missile launch while cooperating with the United States and the ROK.
I would like to refrain from answering about what kind of discussion we had specifically.
Reporter: It seems that the recent missile was launched with a lofted trajectory, and it is being said that it would have reached the east coast of the United States if it had been launched with a normal trajectory.
Was this mentioned during your meeting today?
Minister Hayashi: As I stated before, it was an ICBM. I would like to refrain from giving a conclusive answer on behalf of Japan regarding North Korea’s intentions. It seems that based on the reference to advancing ICBM-related projects made at the Party Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea in January 2021, there has been no change in North Korea’s stance on pursuing longer ranges for its ballistic missiles.
In any event, North Korea’s series of actions, including the recent launch of the ballistic missile further increasing tensions, poses a threat to the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community, and is utterly unacceptable.
Reporter: In the past in 2016 and 2017, North Korea’s missiles landed in the waters off Hokkaido. I believe that the current missile landing in the water 150 kilometers from the Oshima Peninsula was closer than ever before. What is your view on this?
Minister Hayashi: As I stated earlier, the fact that the missile landed in Japan’s EEZ, as well as the fact that it landed closer than ever before as you mentioned, poses a serious and urgent threat to Japan’s security.