Defense officials from S. Korea, US, Japan discuss N.K. missile launches

SEOUL (Yonhap): Senior defense officials from Sou-th Korea, the United States and Japan on Friday discu-ssed a series of missile la-unches by North Korea and vowed to work closely to respond to its threats, Se-oul’s defense ministry said.

During the trilateral phone talks, Deputy Defe-nse Minister Kim Man-ki, Ely Ratner, the U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affa-irs, and Kazuo Masuda fro-m the Japanese defense mi-nistry shared their assessment on the security situati-on on the Korean Penins-ula and in the region, in-cluding the North’s recent missile firings, according to the ministry.

“The three sides agreed to cooperate closely with each other on their responses to those issues in the future,” the ministry said in a release.

Accoring to US DOD press release, Defense officials from Japan, the Re-public of Korea, and US conducted a ca-ll on October 1, 2021 to discuss regional security affa-irs.

Japanese Director General for Defense Policy Kazuo Masuda, ROK Dep-uty Minister for National Defense Policy Kim Man-gi, and U.S. Assistant Sec-retary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner engaged in consultations on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) nuclear and missile threat, regional security, and substantive ways to strengthen trilateral security cooperation.

The representatives reaffirmed the importance of trilateral security cooperation and committed to explore high-level exchan-ges, including a Trilateral Defense Ministerial, on a date to be mutually determined in the future.

Earlier in the day, the communist country said it test-fired an advanced anti-aircraft missile, days after firing a hypersonic missile for the first time. Two weeks earlier, it fired two short-range ballistic missiles from a train and launched a long-range cruise missile, according to the South Korean military.

Denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea have stalled since 2019.

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