Esper, Kono agree to oppose China’s ‘destabilizing’ activities

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger

US Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper met with Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono in Guam Saturday, where they reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance and expressed concerns about China’s destabilizing actions in the region.

Specifically, Esper expressed serious concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong, as well as coercive and destabilizing actions vis-à-vis Taiwan.

Both ministers restated their commitment to maintain a rules-based order in the East and South China Seas, and more broadly in the region and world.

After the meeting, NHK reported that Taro and Esper agreed to oppose China’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo by coercion.

With China’s increased military activity in the East China Sea and the South China Sea in mind, Kono said the world is changing dramatically due to China’s attempts to change the status quo by coercion.

According to a DOD communique, Secretary Esper reiterated the U.S. commitment to the full implementation of President Trump and Chairman Kim’s Joint Statement at the 2018 Singapore Summit, which includes the complete elimination of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction, their means of production, and their means of delivery.

He also thanked Japan for its strong leadership in implementing United Nations Security Council Resolutions sanctions to disrupt North Korea’s illicit ship-to-ship transfers, and for hosting multinational forces that support this effort.