U.S., Japan and South Korea Reaffirm Cooperation
The U.S., Japan and South Korea have issued a statement condemning, in the strongest terms, North Korea’s continued provocative actions including North Korea’s two recent missile launches that overflew Japan and its September 3, 2017 nuclear test.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo issued the statement on October 23 on the margins of the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministerial Meeting Plus.
Onodera said that North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities have grown to an "unprecedented, critical and imminent" level and that the rising threat meant his country along with allies need to trial "different responses."
The three Ministers agreed that they face common security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, and declared that North Korea’s development of nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, to include its intercontinental ballistic missile, threatens the security and prosperity of the three countries. Accordingly, they pledged to take necessary steps to bolster their ability to improve information sharing and strengthen responses to North Korean threats and to support diplomatic-led efforts to resolve the situation.
The three Ministers resolved to strengthen international coordination to ensure the fast and full implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The Ministers called on North Korea to “abandon its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, to cease additional provocative actions that only increase tensions in the region and to abide by its international obligations and commitments.”
The statement said the ministers lauded efforts to broaden information sharing on North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and enhance response capabilities -- including the use of multiple combined flight-training missions with U.S. bomber aircraft. They also committed to continue missile warning and anti-submarine warfare exercises.