US, Japan, S Korea more aligned than ever, says Biden

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In October, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile farther than ever before, sending it soaring over Japan for the first time in five years and prompting a warning for residents there to take cover…reports Asian Lite News

The United States, Japan and South Korea are “more aligned than ever” on North Korea’s “provocative behaviour,” President Joe Biden said on Sunday, as his national security adviser promised a joint response if Pyongyang carries out a seventh nuclear test.

Speaking in Cambodia after a trilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, Biden called their countries “critical allies” that share the United States’ concerns about North Korea’s missile tests.

Yoon said North Korea’s recent provocations showed its regime’s “nature against humanitarianism”, while Kishida said its actions were “unprecedented” and more provocations could be expected from Pyongyang.

“This trilateral summit is timely given we are expecting further provocation,” Kishida said in opening remarks at the three-way meeting.

“I look forward to strengthening the coordination between the U.S., South Korea and Japan to respond firmly” to North Korea’s actions, he added.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One that the three leaders spoke about a coordinated response in the event of a further nuclear test by North Korea, but gave no details.

“The three leaders did coordinate on a joint response and in the event that there would be a seventh nuclear test by the DPRK, and they tasked their teams to work out the elements of that response in real detail,” he said.

“You can expect a trilateral response, well-coordinated among the three countries,” Sullivan said, adding that the response could include security, economic and diplomatic components.

In October, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile farther than ever before, sending it soaring over Japan for the first time in five years and prompting a warning for residents there to take cover.

The United States has been saying since May that North Korea is preparing to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017, but it remains unclear when it might conduct such a test.

North Korea has long been banned from conducting nuclear tests, and ballistic missile launches, by the U.N. Security Council which strengthened sanctions on Pyongyang over the years to try and cut off funding for those programmes.

Biden said he also discussed with Yoon and Kishida expanding coordinated support for Ukraine in the war with Russia, maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and working towards “common goals of a free and open Indo-Pacific”.

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