Top American general says attack on Japan same as on US

Joseph Dunford testifies during the Senate Armed Services committee nomination hearing to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 9, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 August 2017
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Top American general says attack on Japan same as on US

TOKYO: The United States’ most senior military officer on Friday said North Korea understands that an any attack on Japan is equal to one on the US itself — and vice versa.
General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held talks with his Japanese counterpart at the defense ministry in Tokyo, wrapping up a regional tour during heightened tensions with North Korea.
Tokyo remains on alert against potential military provocations by Pyongyang after North Korea threatened to fire missiles toward the Pacific island of Guam, US territory, which would have flown over Japan.
“I think we made it clear to North Korea and anyone else in the region that an attack on one is an attack on both of us,” Dunford told Katsutoshi Kawano, Chief of Staff of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.
“And that’s very, very important for deterrence,” added Dunford, who visited South Korea and China before arriving in Japan.
Dunford added that the US reaffirmed its “ironclad commitment” to the security of Japan on Thursday when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks with their Japanese counterparts in Washington.
Japan frequently demands — and receives — US reassurances over its commitment to defend its ally.
The US and Japan, adversaries in World War II, have forged a decades-long defense alliance and the US stations tens of thousands of troops in the country.
Washington has long encouraged Japan to take on more defense responsibility even though the country is militarily constrained by a US-written constitution imposed after the end of World War II.
In 2015 nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushed contentious security bills through parliament that expand what Japan can do to help its ally, such as coming to the aid of US troops under attack.
Dunford is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later in the day.
During his visit to China, Dunford said peace with North Korea is a “possibility,” but warned the US has “credible, viable military options” for dealing with the errant regime.
The US and North Korea have been engaged in heated verbal sparring since Trump warned Pyongyang that it faced “fire and fury” if it continued to threaten the US and other countries with its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
North Korea responded that it was ready to aim a missile at the American territory Guam, an operation that has since been suspended.


Five dead following US Border Patrol car chase in Texas

Updated 2 min 28 sec ago
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Five dead following US Border Patrol car chase in Texas

  • The chase began after a Border Patrol agent noticed three vehicles traveling in a caravan and suspected smuggling
  • Four victims were pronounced dead on the scene and a fifth was pronounced dead after being airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio

BIG WELLS, Texas: Five immigrants died and several others were injured on Sunday when their vehicle careened out of control while being chased by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas about 90 miles (145 km) north of the Mexican border, officials said.
Some of the injured were ejected from a Chevy Suburban packed with 14 people that was traveling up to 100 miles per hour (160 kph), Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd told reporters.
The sport utility vehicle skidded off the road and then attempted to get back onto the highway, but the driver overcorrected and the vehicle flipped over, ejecting several people, Boyd said.
"We've seen this many, many times, in not only this county but other counties along the border," Boyd said. "This is a perfect example of why our borders need to be secure."
The chase began after a Border Patrol agent noticed three vehicles traveling in a caravan and suspected smuggling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. Border Patrol agents stopped two of the vehicles and made multiple arrests, but the third vehicle continued, the statement said.
"The driver did not stop and the attempt to stop the vehicle was taken over by a Dimmit County Sheriff's office deputy. The vehicle rolled over a short distance later on highway 85 near Big Wells, resulting in multiple injuries and fatalities," the statement said.
Four victims were pronounced dead on the scene and a fifth was pronounced dead after being airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio, Boyd said. A sixth person was in very critical condition with potentially life-threatening injuries, he said.
Television images showed the smashed vehicle missing at least two wheels, with debris strewn across the road at the Big Wells city limit.
The driver, who was not hurt, was arrested, Boyd said. It was not immediately clear what charges he will face.