(ATTN: UPDATES with more details of trilateral summit)
By Lee Haye-ah
PHNOM PENH, Nov. 13 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday reaffirmed Washington's commitment to bolster its "extended deterrence" protection of South Korea and Japan during a trilateral summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
The three leaders met in Phnom Penh on the sidelines of annual regional gatherings amid heightened tensions in the wake of a series of North Korean missile launches and persistent concern that Pyongyang could carry out its seventh nuclear test at any time.
"The Leaders strongly condemn DPRK's unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches this year, including multiple ICBM launches, as well as a flurry of conventional military action that pose a grave threat to the peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and beyond," the leaders said in a joint statement. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
They also urged the North to abide by its obligations and commitments to denuclearize while reaffirming yet another nuclear test by the North would be met with "a strong and resolute response from the international community."
"At the same time, the three countries will work together to strengthen deterrence. President Biden reiterated that the U.S. commitment to defend Japan and the ROK is ironclad and backed by the full range of capabilities, including nuclear," the statement said. ROK stands for South Korea's official name, Republic of Korea.
"As the regional security environment grows more challenging, President Biden reaffirms that the U.S. commitment to reinforce extended deterrence to Japan and the ROK will only strengthen," it said.
The leaders said their countries' recent joint military exercises demonstrated their resolve to maintain peace and stability, and defend the rules-based international order.
"The leaders intend to share DPRK missile warning data in real time to improve each country's ability to detect and assess the threat posed by incoming missiles, a major step for deterrence, peace and stability," the statement said.
The presidential office said it was the first time the three countries adopted a joint statement of a "comprehensive nature," covering major economic and political points, including their agreement to establish a new trilateral economic security dialogue and jointly respond to "economic coercion."
During the summit, Yoon presented South Korea's new Indo-Pacific strategy for a free, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, and Biden and Kishida welcomed the initiative, saying they look forward to close trilateral cooperation in the process of its implementation.
The leaders also discussed cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Mekong region, their commitment to stand with Ukraine against Russia's "unprovoked and brutal war of aggression," their opposition to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in waters of the Indo-Pacific, and the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, the statement said.
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