US president Donald Trump has deepened a row with Japan, a key Pacific ally, after stating that the Island country could just watch the US being attacked “on a Sony television”.
President Trump slammed Japan on Fox Business Network on Wednesday by questioning whether the 1951 US-Japan treaty was fair and who would pay for future wars.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019
“If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War Three”, Mr Trump said. “We will go in and protect them with our lives and with our treasure. We will fight at all costs, right?”
He added that if the US was attacked, Tokyo did not “have to help us at all”.
“They can watch on a Sony television the attack,” the US president said.
The comments were made following further statements quoted by Bloomberg News on Tuesday, indicating that Mr Trump privately mulled ending the defence agreement with Tokyo.
According to Bloomberg, Trump expressed to confidants that the accord, which forms the alliance between countries emerging from World War II, was "too one-sided" because it does not oblige Japan’s military to assist US defence forces.
Trump also roasted Tokyo for not doing enough to protect its own interests rather than relying on the US after a Japanese tanker was allegedly attacked in the Strait of Hormuz by Iran, according to Washington.
But US and Japan officials have denounced Trump’s allegations, stating that US-Japanese security relations were solid.
President Trump made similar accusations against South Korea and other allies to force their governments to contribute more to US forces stationed in their countries.
Japanese authorities have declined to comment on the US president’s statements until after talks were underway in Osaka. Multiple bilateral talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit over the US-China trade war, threats of war with Iran and other subjects are expected to take place, including meetings between Mr Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday, as well as Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping on Saturday. Talks between Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are also expected on 28 and 29 June, where the US president may address issues concerning trade, tariffs and India’s purchase of Russian S-400s.