TOKYO, May 29 (Yonhap) -- Defense ministers of South Korea, the United States and Japan have been arranging trilateral talks on the sidelines of an annual security forum in Singapore next month, Japan's Kyodo News reported Sunday.
South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Lloyd Austin and Nobuo Kishi, are reportedly expected to join the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore set for June 10-12.
Citing a Japanese government official, the report said that the three defense ministers plan to deepen their cooperation against North Korea's recent provocations, including ballistic missile launches, during the planned three-way talks.
Should the three-way talks take place, they would mark the first such in-person gathering since November 2019.
The defense ministers of South Korea and the U.S. are likely to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the security forum, but Seoul and Tokyo are unlikely to hold bilateral defense talks, the report said.
North Korea has staged ballistic missile tests at a record pace this year, including at least four suspected launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
Officials in Seoul have said North Korea appears to have completed "all preparations" for a nuclear test, which would mark North Korea's seventh nuclear test if conducted. Pyongyang last conducted a nuclear test in September 2017.
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