US, Japan agree to bolster alliance amid NK threats

Soldiers from Japan's Ground Self Defense Force take part in a field drill with US Marines during joint military exercises with in Eniwa Hokkaido prefecture

"Defense Minister Onodera stated that, on urgent North Korean issues, there is a need to avoid contingency situations and Japan and the USA must work together to take thorough measures".

"I don't really have a comment on what Mr. Bannon's remarks were on that particular interview".

The conference ended with a strong statement condemning North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests, but USA officials have had to repeatedly reassure allies that Trump does not intend to escalate an already precarious standoff. "I think we have been quite clear as to what the policy and posture against North Korea is".

The United States and Japan on Thursday urged North Korea to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons while Defense Secretary James Mattis warned Pyongyang that both countries will respond with overwhelming force if it attacks first.

Last week Trump made clear he is not backing down from his threats to punish North Korea.

Earlier this week, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert answered a similar question with "They know what they should do", without specifying exactly what North Korea needs to do for the U.S. to begin a dialogue with Pyongyang.

"They also discussed the accelerating implementation of the 2015 Revised Guidelines for Bilateral Defense Cooperation and enhancing Japan's defense capabilities", she added. There is no Trump administration Why the next Fed chief will be a Republican who loves low rates Why this US-North Korea standoff is different MORE on Thursday dismissed claims from White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon that there is no military solution to the conflict with North Korea. "In close collaboration with our allies, there are strong military consequences if the DPRK initiates hostilities", the Pentagon chief told reporters.

Trump called North Korea's decision not to follow through with its threat against Guam "very wise", saying the consequences would be "catastrophic and unacceptable".

"Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons", Bannon continued, "I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us".

Military action is "not our preferred pathway", he said, stressing the US continues to enlist the support of its partners and allies to pressure Pyongyang to the point that it realizes its future is "bleak, and will only become bleaker if they continue this pathway".

Both Tillerson and Kono also offered condolences for the loss of life and injuries in Barcelona where a van was driven into pedestrians.

China has an important role in reining in North Korea, the officials said, with Tillerson stating that Beijing has cooperated with the global community in putting pressure on North Korea on a level unseen before. Tillerson said the incident "has the hallmarks, it appears of yet another terror attack".

"Terrorists around the world should know the United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice", Tillerson said.

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