Japan’s defense chief said on Wednesday the U.S. military’s presence in South Korea and joint military exercises were “vital” for East Asian security after President Donald Trump’s surprise statement that he would halt war games with the South.

U.S.-South Korea military

“We would like to seek an understanding of this between Japan, the U.S. and South Korea,” Japan’s Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera told reporters.

Onodera said Japan would continue joint military exercises with the United States and would stick to plans to bolster its defenses against a possible ballistic missile strike from North
Korea.

An E-2C Hawkeye lands on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier during a South Korea-US joint military cxercise in seas east of the Korean Peninsula on March 14, 2017. The Carl Vinson Strike Group is participating in the annual joint Foal Eagle exercise between South Korea and the US.

His comments came after Trump’s stunning concession following his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday.

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