The defense chiefs of Japan, the United States and South Korea used a meeting at Asia’s top regional security conference to announce a series of new initiatives that will help formalize their burgeoning trilateral defense cooperation.

At a gathering on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean defense chief Shin Won-sik agreed to develop a framework to institutionalize trilateral cooperation within the year.

The push comes as fears grow over possible lapses in U.S. commitment to the region should former U.S. President Donald Trump be reelected in November. There are also concerns that political changes in Seoul and Tokyo could scuttle the hard-fought cooperative agreements already reached.