National / Politics

Allies once again vow to be tough with North Korea


Japan, the U.S. and South Korea have vowed again to work together to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development and other recent provocations.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin shared the view during talks Saturday in Singapore that the North’s long-range missile launch last December and its third nuclear test in February pose a “serious threat” to Northeast Asian and global security.

They issued a statement demanding that North Korea comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions and abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. “We agreed to act together (against North Korea) and promote (trilateral) defense cooperation,” Onodera said after the meeting.

Echoing Onodera’s remark, a senior U.S. Defense Department official said “it is imperative that we work together. No one nation can really deal with this range of challenges adequately by itself.”

Onodera, Hagel and Kim agreed to cooperate in the areas of cybersecurity and missile defense, the U.S. official said.

It was the first gathering of the three defense chiefs since Pyongyang on May 24 conveyed to Chinese President Xi Jinping its readiness to rejoin the six-party denuclearization talks. The development raised hopes for an easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

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