SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) — Senior defense officials from South Korea, the United States and Japan held phone talks Thursday to discuss North Korea’s recent missile launches and reaffirmed the importance of trilateral security cooperation, Seoul’s defense ministry said.
The phone talks came two days after North Korea fired what it claimed to be a hypersonic missile into the East Sea, the second such launch in less than a week.
During the conversation, Deputy Defense Minister Kim Man-ki, Ely Ratner, the U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, and Kazuo Masuda from the Japanese defense ministry shared their views on the security situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula, including the North’s latest missile launches, according to the ministry.
“South Korea and the U.S., in particular, agreed to accelerate an in-depth analysis and preparations of response measures against North Korea’s growing missile threats,” the ministry said in a statement.
The officials reaffirmed the importance of security cooperation among the three countries, and agreed to hold three-way defense ministerial talks at an agreed upon date, it added.
South Korea, the U.S. and Japan earlier pushed for a defense ministerial meeting in Hawaii this month, but postponed the schedule due to the virus situation.
The three countries last held a trilateral defense ministerial meeting on the margins of security talks involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok in November 2019.