U.S., Japan, South Korea to discuss response to North Korea

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Feb. 13, 2017 at 9:30 PM
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Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Top defense officials of the United States, Japan and South Korea agreed to hold a videoconference on Thursday and to continue to cooperate closely in dealing with North Korea's missile threats.

Seoul's defense ministry said on Tuesday, local time, the meeting will reaffirm the "ironclad" pledge of security that exists among the three allies, Yonhap news agency reported.

"Japan and South Korea also agreed to work closely with the international community on North Korea's provocations," the defense ministry said.

South Korean Brig. Gen. Park Cheol-kyun, deputy director general of Seoul's defense ministry's international policy bureau; the Pentagon's Christopher Johnstone; and Koji Kano, principal director of Tokyo's defense ministry's defense policy bureau are to be on the videoconference.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his estate in Florida when North Korea launched what appeared to be a mid-range missile, pledged support for Japan but did not mention North Korea by name.

Trump's restraint continued on Sunday, while his senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said the United States is "going to be sending another signal very soon."

"That signal is when we begin a great rebuilding of the armed forces of the United States," Miller said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

According to Seoul on Tuesday, local time, all three delegates agreed to condemn the provocative act as a clear violation of United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions.

"North Korea's unlawful missile program is a major and ongoing threat to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia," South Korea's defense ministry said in statement after the call.

South Korea analysts say the rocket launched on Sunday was an upgraded submarined-launched ballistic missile, or SLBM.

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