Senior officials from Japan, the United States and South Korea have committed to strengthening security ties between the nations amid fears of potential nuclear tests from North Korea.
The agreement was made in Tokyo on Wednesday during a trilateral meeting hosted by the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Funakoshi Takehiro.
The meeting was also attended by the U.S. Special Representative for the DPRK Ambassador Sung Kim and the Republic of Korea (ROK) Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Kim Gunn.
“North Korea is continuing and even accelerating its nuclear and missile capabilities, and there is a looming chance of further provocation, including a nuclear test,” Funakoshi said before discussions began. “At the same time, we remain open to entertaining dialogue with North Korea.”
According to the Japanese envoy, the North Korean government is always welcome at the negotiating table, a view also endorsed by his American and South Korean counterparts.
Kim added how ready Washington was for any contingency, noting that: “Our bottom line has not changed. Our goal remains a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
In a statement, Japan’s Foreign Ministry remarked that the envoys shared deep concerns about North Korea’s recent activities and have pledged to take “specific steps” should it decide to conduct a nuclear test.
North Korea launched two cruise missiles in August following the resumption of the field exercises between South Korea and the United States, which Pyongyang has considered to be “a rehearsal for war.”
Another concern discussed is the possibility of North Korea selling arms to its old Cold War ally, Russia.
Attended by national security experts from 54 countries, a panel in the event highlighted that the fight for North Korea’s denuclearization would require efforts to strengthen South Korea’s nuclear deterrence capabilities, strengthen the alliance between South Korea and the U.S. and improve global solidarity, as well as “unconditional dialogue” with North Korea.