Washington: A senior US defence official
said today he was confident the United States would be allowed
to use bases in Japan to launch military action in the event
of conflict with North Korea.
"We are absolutely confident we would be able to use
Japanese bases in response to a North Korean threat," Wallace
Gregson, the assistant secretary of defence for Asian and
Pacific security affairs, told lawmakers.
The sinking in March of a South Korean warship, blamed
on a North Korean torpedo, "did nothing to diminish Japanese
concern about the North Korean threat," Gregson told the House
Armed Services Committee.
He said the Japanese "have suffered at the hands of
North Korea" with its citizens kidnapped and attempts by North
Korean vessels to infiltrate Japanese waters.
"I have no doubt that they are fully aware of the threat
from North Korea and fully supportive of all the provisions of
our treaty to support operations should they be necessary in
Korea," he said.
He had been asked if the United States could remain
confident given Japanese reluctance on fulfilling a deal with
Washington to relocate a US Marine base on the southern island