Japan, South Korea and the United States agreed Wednesday to strengthen their security cooperation over North Korean nuclear and missile threats, according to the Japanese government, as leaders from the countries held their first such trilateral meeting since 2017.

The gathering took place as the recent change of the South Korean government is creating fresh impetus toward improving soured bilateral ties between Tokyo and Seoul. It also comes amid speculation that Pyongyang's first nuclear test since 2017 could occur at any time.

At the outset of the 23-minute talks on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida asserted the importance of trilateral cooperation, citing his "deep concerns" over the possibility of further provocation by North Korea, including nuclear tests.