The top Pentagon official told lawmakers on Tuesday:
In Northeast Asia, the dynamic security environment continues to underscore the importance of our robust alliance and partner relationships, in particular given the immediate challenge posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Although recent diplomatic developments are encouraging, the Department of Defense [DOD] continues to work closely with our allies and partners to maintain and improve our readiness to defend against potential threats, while ensuring that our diplomats engage from a position of strength to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization and the dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile programs.
According to the Straits Times, the American ambassador to Japan made similar remarks, telling a Wall Street Journal CEO Council meeting in Tokyo:
From the standpoint of U.S. leadership – President Trump, Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo, National Security Advisor [John] Bolton – everybody has been very consistent that the pressure is going to stay in place.
We are not talking about writing blank cheques that can go towards some other nefarious activity. We are talking about real know-how that can lead to progress for the North Korean people.