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S. Korea, U.S., Japan hold trilateral security talks

All Headlines 10:47 May 09, 2019

SEOUL, May 9 (Yonhap) -- Senior defense officials from South Korea, the United States and Japan held annual trilateral security talks in Seoul on Thursday, with North Korea's latest firing of projectiles likely to top the agenda.

During the 11th Defense Trilateral Talks, the three countries plan to explore ways to boost trilateral collaboration for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a lasting peace, according to the defense ministry.

Also on the table will be "assessments of regional security circumstances and trilateral military exchanges and cooperation," it said.

South Korea will be represented by Chung Suk-hwan, Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy, and his American and Japanese counterparts were Randall Schriver, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, and Takeshi Ishikawa, director general for defense policy, according to the ministry.

Marc Knapper, Acting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Japan and Korea, was also set to attend the meeting, officials said.

The talks came less than a week after Pyongyang test-fired short-range projectiles off its east coast. Since Saturday's firings, Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have maintained low-key responses, saying they will deal with the matter cautiously.

Ahead of the trilateral talks, South Korea held bilateral sessions with the U.S. and Japan to discuss issues of their mutual interests, the officials noted.

The Seoul-Tokyo meeting involving defense officials took place at a time when their relations have soured over a row prompted by Japan's allegations last year that a South Korean warship locked fire-control radar on its maritime patrol aircraft in December in the neighbors' overlapping exclusive economic zones.

South Korea has flatly rejected the claims, saying that the warship never used any tracking radar as it was on a mission to rescue a North Korean fishing boat drifting in the East Sea.

Launched in 2008, the trilateral annual forum, involving assistant deputy minister-level officials, is meant to serve as a venue for discussion of major regional security issues, including North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

S. Korea, U.S., Japan hold trilateral security talks - 1

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