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S. Korea, U.S., Japan defense chiefs agree to strengthen joint defense

All News 17:48 June 04, 2016

By Park Boram

SINGAPORE, June 4 (Yonhap) -- The defense chiefs of South Korea, the United States and Japan reaffirmed Saturday their commitment to work together to deal with North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, Seoul's defense ministry said.

The defense ministers from the three countries, Han Min-koo, Ash Carter and Gen Nakatani, came to an understanding that "the partners are facing common challenges including North Korea's nuclear and missile threats," the Ministry of National Defense said after a three-way meeting in Singapore.

The talks were held on the sidelines of the Asia Security Summit, also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Han, Carter and Nakatani reaffirmed their pledge to step up collaboration under the framework of the annual Defense Trilateral Talks, a deputy minister-level consultative body, especially on the crucial sector of information sharing on North Korean security threats, the ministry said in a statement.

In late 2014, the three military partners also signed the Trilateral Information Sharing Arrangement to better circulate military intelligence on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs in a bid to jointly counter the communist country.

During Saturday's meeting that came after a one-year hiatus, the defense chiefs discussed their upcoming joint Pacific Dragon anti-ballistic missile defense exercise set to take place in the waters off Hawaii ahead of the multilateral Rim of the Pacific exercise (RIMPAC), scheduled to run from June 30 to Aug. 4.

On top of the North Korean nuclear issue, the ministers also shared their understanding that the freedom of navigation and overflight should be ensured in the South China Sea, the ministry said.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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