The US and Japan, which recently strengthened their alliance into a “global” framework, are now planning to request a trilateral defense ministers‘ meeting with South Korea at May’s Asian Security Summit (Shangri-La Dialogue) in Singapore.
With this, Seoul is now finding itself rapidly drawn into the US-Japan alliance’s strategic decision to present a military counterweight against a rising China and preserve the current order.
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani held a meeting in Washington on Apr. 28 where they agreed to call on South Korea to participate in a trilateral meeting of defense ministers in the near future to respond to the North Korean nuclear and missile issues.
“North Korea’s continued development of a nuclear weapon and [ballistic] missiles poses a threat to Japan,” Nakatani said in a Q&A session with the Japanese press after the meeting.
“We [Nakatani and Carter] were in agreement on building on the close solidarity of Japan, the US, and South Korea by developing cooperation among the three countries,” he added.
Nakatani went on to explain that while the three countries had signed a trilateral sharing agreement late last year for intelligence on the North Korean nuclear and missile threats, he and Carter also “see it as important to strengthen Japan-US-South Korea defense cooperation as well, and agreed to push for a trilateral defense ministers‘ meeting at the Shangri-La Dialogue next month.”
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