"Israel's staunchest Ally" - Secret U.S. military flights carried officials, equipment to N. Korea, hiding info from Japan.HT: Ajw.Asahi.By Yoshihiro Makino.
Senior U.S. administration officials held secret talks in North Korea on at least three occasions in 2011 and 2012, The Asahi Shimbun has learned.
Although the visits had potential implications for Japan, Washington did not inform its security partner at the time and only informally confirmed one of them when the Japanese side pressed, government and other sources in Japan, South Korea and the United States said.
The U.S. State Department even warned the Foreign Ministry against making further inquiries, saying they would harm bilateral relations, the sources said.
U.S. military planes flew from an air base in Guam to Pyongyang and back on April 7, 2012, and again on a longer visit lasting from Aug. 18-20, the sources said.
It is believed that those aboard included Sydney Seiler, director for Korea at the U.S. National Security Council, and Joseph DeTrani, who headed the North Korea desk at the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. DeTrani left the post in May.
They met with North Korean officials and discussed policies following the death of leader Kim Jong Il in December 2011.
The North Korean delegation included Jang Song Thaek, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission and husband of Kim Jong Il's sister. Jang is widely considered to serve as a mentor for Kim Jong Un, who succeeded his father as his nation's leader.
The Japanese government only learned about the flights after receiving reports from hobbyists monitoring activity at military bases and also analyzing air traffic flight plans.
When the Japanese side submitted an official inquiry, U.S. officials expressed frustration that the request had been made, citing the subject's confidential nature. The State Department warned Japan against inquiring further, saying Washington-Tokyo ties could be damaged.
The third visit that The Asahi Shimbun has confirmed is one that took place in November 2011. Sources said at least one military aircraft from the Guam air base loaded heavy equipment, including bulldozers, at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo and flew to Pyongyang.
It is believed that the delegation included officials from the U.S. Pacific Command. They met with North Korean officials and discussed efforts to recover the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, the sources said.
When Japan inquired about this visit, U.S. officials unofficially confirmed that it had taken place, the sources said.
Japan has only limited access to U.S. intelligence about North Korea's nuclear program, even though it relies heavily on its ally for an informed view of global threats.
"There must be many secrets between the United States and North Korea that Japan does not know about," a Japanese government source said.
Among the data that the United States withholds is assessments of the outcome of North Korea's nuclear tests.
Such experiences have led some in Tokyo to arrive at a painful assessment of the relationship."Japan and the United States are not allies when it comes to nuclear matters," said a Japanese government source who was responsible for North Korean nuclear affairs.
Hmmmm.....What else is the 'Obama Admin' hiding from other 'allies'?You think they visited when Iranians 'officials' where in North Korea as well?Read the full story here.