Defense chiefs of S. Korea, U.S., Japan discuss security cooperation in phone call

The defense chiefs of South Korea, the United States and Japan held phone talks Thursday to discuss measures to implement last month's agreements on security cooperation among the countries' leaders, including plans for a trilateral sharing of missile warning data and joint military training.

During the talks, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Lloyd Austin and Yasukazu Hamada, also condemned North Korea's missile provocations, including its launch of what it claimed was a space rocket last month.

"The ministers concurred the successful hosting of the historic S. Korea-U.S.-Japan summit at Camp David marks the 'beginning of a new era of cooperation' and assessed the phone call demonstrates close security cooperation and solidarity among the three countries," the ministry said in a press release.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held a summit at the U.S. presidential retreat in Maryland on Aug. 18 and agreed to closely cooperate to counter the North's evolving nuclear and missile threats.

The defense chiefs discussed follow-up measures to carry out the summit agreements, including establishing a system for real-time sharing of missile warning data this year and establishing multi-year trilateral military drills in response to the North's nuclear and missile threats, the ministry said.

During their talks, the defense chiefs condemned Pyongyang's launch of a claimed space rocket on Aug. 24 as an illicit move that violates United Nations resolutions and hinders peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region.

Noting the North's plan to put what it claims to be a military spy satellite into orbit in October, the defense chiefs agreed to share intelligence and respond in close cooperation against additional provocations, according to the ministry.

They also agreed to hold a ministerial meeting in the future to sustain and strengthen the momentum for three-way security cooperation established through last month's summit, it said.

Thursday's phone call came amid speculation that Pyongyang will seek to bolster ties with China and Russia in the face of growing security cooperation among Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.

Source: Yonhap News Agency