Allies condemn “in the strongest terms” Pyongyang’s latest weapons test and urge an end to “destabilize”.
Japan, South Korea and the United States have agreed to strengthen security cooperation in response to growing threats from North Korea, condemning the country’s test of its first-ever solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile ( ICBMs).
Defense officials from the three countries discussed regularizing missile defense drills and anti-submarine drills as a deterrent as well as a response to North Korea’s “nuclear and missile threats”. They also discussed ways to resume trilateral exercises, according to a joint statement issued Friday at the end of the 13th trilateral defense talks in Washington, DC.
They “condemned in the strongest terms the DPRK’s repeated violations of United Nations Security Council (UNSCR) resolutions, including its continued nuclear and missile provocations and illicit ship-to-ship transfers.”
DPRK stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.
The statement also urged Pyongyang to “immediately cease all destabilizing activities” and “reaffirmed that a DPRK nuclear test, if carried out, would elicit a strong and resolute response from the international community.”
North Korea last tested a nuclear weapon in 2017, but the rapid expansion of its military arsenal in recent years has raised concerns that it is preparing to resume nuclear testing.
Kim ordered a rapid modernization of the country’s weaponry with a record number of tests in 2022.
Developing solid-fuel technology, which was safer to use, easier to maneuver and faster to deploy than liquid-powered variants, was a key part of Kim’s weapons development plans.
This year, testing has intensified amid large-scale joint military exercises by US and South Korean forces that Pyongyang says are a rehearsal for the invasion.
Denuclearization talks have stalled since 2019, when a high-profile summit between Kim and then-US President Donald Trump collapsed.
The three defense officials reiterated a call for North Korea to resume talks.
The “path of dialogue” remains open, the statement said.