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(LEAD) S. Korea, U.S., Japan pushing for talks among JCS chiefs

All News 14:24 January 25, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea, the United States and Japan plan to hold talks among their military chiefs in February, an official here said Monday, in the aftermath of North Korea's fourth nuclear test earlier in the month.

The three countries are pushing to hold a video conference next month among Gen. Lee Sun-jin, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and his American and Japanese counterparts -- Gen. Joseph Dunford and Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano -- a JCS spokesman said during a regular briefing.

Details of the conference, including how and when it will be carried out, are still under review, the spokesman said.

North Korea conducted on Jan. 6 what it claims was a successful hydrogen bomb test, escalating military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Since then, South Korea has played loudspeaker broadcasts criticizing the North Korean regime along the tensely fortified inter-Korean border in retaliation.

Four days after the test, the U.S. flew a B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber in the skies of South Korea in a major show of force aimed at deterring the communist country from further military provocations.

Military collaboration among the three nations will likely dominate the conference as the countries are scrambling to contain any escalation of military tensions in the region.

"It intends to facilitate defense readiness in regard to the current crisis situation," the spokesman said of the upcoming talks.

Another official said the U.S. will conduct further shows of force down the road.

"Such deployments are a show of force taken strategically to tell that North Korea's development of nuclear weapons will bring the country nowhere ... such actions will continue to be taken in the future," Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Mim-seok said.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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