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S. Korea, U.S., Japan FMs stress coordination against N. Korean threats

All Headlines 13:42 August 10, 2014

By Kim Soo-yeon

NAYPYITAW, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats from South Korea, the United States and Japan agreed on Sunday to beef up their coordinated approach against threats from North Korea's nuclear weapons program and missile launches, Seoul officials said.

The talks among Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida took place on the sidelines of the annual security forum hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), dubbed the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

"The three countries shared the need to strengthen coordination against North Korea's missile threats, necessitating a more systemic response to those risks," said an official at Seoul's foreign ministry.

North Korea has ratcheted up provocative acts by launching a series of missiles and rockets, snubbing the United Nations Security Council's fresh condemnation against it. Earlier this week, it even threatened to conduct a fourth nuclear test, citing what it called U.S. hostility against it.

"The situation in the Korean Peninsula is very uncertain and unstable because of growing threats from North Korea," Yun said ahead of the start of the talks.

"So this is the right time for us to make our joint strategy on how to deal with these growing (threats) ... Now we have to consolidate our joint strategy."

The ARF has traditionally brought together foreign ministers and key officials of all the countries involved in the six-party talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear ambitions. The multilateral talks, which have been stalled since late 2008, involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.

Myanmar's hosting of the ARF takes on significance as the country is now on a course of reforms and liberalization, which is called "Myanmar's Way," according to the Seoul official.

Previously, Yun has called on North Korea to follow the path of Myanmar and Vietnam, saying that Myanmar, which opted for seclusion for a long time, is now pushing for engaging with the outside world.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the three nations' first trilateral talks on North Korea's nuclear issues.


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