South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (L) and U.S. President Joe Biden pose for a photo during their bilateral meeting Sunday in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE
Nov. 13 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Sunday reaffirmed the United States' commitment to the security of South Korea and Japan amid continued "provocations" from North Korea's missile tests.
Biden met with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday while attending the annual East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The three spoke of increased threats from North Korea as it tests its nuclear capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region. While none of the three mentioned China directly, it was clear it is also on their minds.
"Japan and the Republic of Korea are both critical allies of the United States," Biden said. "And for years, our countries have been engaged in a trilateral cooperation out of a shared concern for the nuclear and missile threats North Korea poses to our people. And North Korea continues [its] provocative behavior."
North Korea has ramped up its testing of ballistic missiles with nuclear capability throughout the fall, launching three missiles, including one believed to be an intercontinental missile, earlier this month.
Early in October, it launched a ballistic missile over Japan and into an uninhabited island located between Korea and China.
South Korea and Japan say their bonds have been strengthened over threats from Pyongyang in recent months.
The two countries, along with the United States, participated in a joint naval exercise off Sagami Bay, Tokyo, last week. It was the first time South Korea participated in such an exercise with Japan since 2015. Kishida was in attendance to oversee the exercise and noted the attempt by North Korea and other actors to disrupt the "status quo" of peace and security in the region and world at large.
On Sunday, the Japanese leader reiterated his concerns over North Korea's repeated tests and resistance to denuclearization.
"Now North Korea's provocations, unprecedented both in their frequency and their manner, continue," he said. "And we assume that there could be more coming."
Biden, Kishida and Yoon will meet again Tuesday as they take part in the G20 summit in Indonesia.
President Joe Biden gave a speech warning Americans about election deniers and urging voters to "preserve democracy or put it at risk" at the the Democratic National Committee's Columbus Club in Washington on Wednesday. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/UPI | License Photo