Seoul, June 8 (EFE).- South Korea, Japan and the United States agreed Wednesday to strengthen military cooperation with North Korea, at a time when the regime seems to be preparing a new nuclear test.
At a Wednesday meeting in Seoul between the vice foreign ministers of the three countries, Cho Hyun-dong, Takeo Mori and Wendy Sherman, the three “condemned the insistent and illegal missile launches by (North) Korea,” according to a joint statement.
“The deputy secretary of state reaffirmed the firm commitments of the US to the defense of (South) Korea and Japan, including extended deterrence,” the text read.
Wednesday was the first such trilateral vice foreign ministers’ meeting in six months, and the three sides agreed to hold a similar meeting in Tokyo in the fall.
The three diplomats said the path of dialogue “remains open” and urged Pyongyang to return to disarmament talks, stalled since 2019.
“In turn, they expressed their hope that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will respond positively to international offers of assistance to fight Covid-19,” the text read.
The trilateral meeting comes at a time marked by the escalation of arms and tension on the peninsula.
Following the May 10 inauguration in Seoul of conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has promised a more forceful stance towards Pyongyang, South Korean and US militaries have responded to the latest North Korean launches with their own missile tests. This hadn’t happened since 2017.
On Tuesday, the allies carried out maneuvers with fighter planes.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang, which has carried out a record number of weapons tests this year after approving a weapons modernization plan last year, appears to be all set to carry out its first nuclear test in five years, according to satellite images.
North Korea, isolated from the outside world since the pandemic began, has ignored invitations to resume dialogue on disarmament and offers of health aid from South Korea and the US to alleviate its wave of Covid-19. EFE