July 11, 2019 / 7:02 AM / a month ago

U.S. diplomat Stilwell keen to discuss Iran, North Korea with Japan officials

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell arrives at Narita international airport in Narita, east of Tokyo, Japan, July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

NARITA, Japan (Reuters) - The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia said on Thursday he was looking forward to talking with Japanese officials about subjects including Iran and North Korea, in his first trip to the region since taking up his post last month.

“I look forward to building on the (U.S.-Japan) alliance as the cornerstone of peace, security and prosperity here in the Asia-Pacific,” said David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

“I look forward to some interaction with senior Japanese officials, understanding where we sit today in the free and open Indo-Pacific strategy, as well as discussing topics like Iran and North Korea,” he told reporters after arriving at Narita International Airport, near Tokyo.

Stilwell’s post had been vacant for more than two years despite major challenges in the region including North Korea’s nuclear program and the U.S.-China trade war.

He is scheduled to meet senior Japanese diplomatic and defense officials through Sunday to coordinate on global issues and deepen the U.S.-Japan alliance, before traveling on to the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand.

Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim

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