The defense ministers of Japan, South Korea and the United States agreed Saturday that they will continue to take a tough stance on North Korea in response to its leadership's declaration at last month's ruling party congress that the communist nation will continue to pursue nuclear weapons.

Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said they agreed to work closely and urge North Korea to immediately refrain from taking further provocative actions.

Nakatani spoke to the press after holding talks with his South Korean and U.S. counterparts, Han Min-koo and Ash Carter, in Singapore on the sidelines of Asia's annual premier security forum known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.