US, South Korea, Japan vow to jointly counter North Korean threats

Officials from 3 countries agree to bolster security ties amid growing fear of Pyongyang preparing for nuclear test, local media reports.

US, South Korea, Japan vow to jointly counter North Korean threats

The US, South Korea and Japan on Wednesday agreed to bolster security ties and jointly counter threats from North Korea amid growing fear of Pyongyang preparing for a nuclear test, local media said.

Wendy Sherman, a senior US diplomat, Japan’s Takeo Mori and South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong met in Seoul to discuss the latest security situation in the region, according to Yonhap News Agency.

In a joint statement, the three diplomats also condemned the recent North Korean missile tests, saying they will jointly bolster security ties against North Korea.

The US diplomat reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to the defense of its allies, including "extended deterrence."

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden’s special envoy Sung Kim also warned that the US has prepared a multi-pronged response to any future North Korean nuclear test that will include diplomatic efforts at the UN and other unspecified measures.

"I do think it will have different aspects to it. It will not be just a singular response," Kim told reporters on a conference call. "A nuclear test is unacceptable to us and the international community."

Meanwhile, Australia also condemned North Korea's launch of eight ballistic missiles on weekend and said the move showed its apparent preparations to undertake a nuclear test.

"Australia calls on the Security Council to respond decisively to North Korea’s continued violation of its legally binding resolutions," said Foreign Minister Penny Wong in a statement.

She added that effective sanctions enforcement requires a global effort and her country will continue to strictly enforce all UN Security Council resolutions against North Korea.

"We encourage all countries to do likewise. Australia will also continue to keep our autonomous sanctions against North Korea under review," she said.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said on Monday the agency detected indications that North Korea is preparing for a nuclear test at its Punggye-ri site.

China and Russia vetoed on May 27 new UN Security Council sanctions that would have been imposed on the North in retaliation for its continued ballistic missile tests, which it conducts in violation of previous council resolutions.

On Sunday, North Korea launched at least eight short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea, the third missile test since the inauguration of South Korea's new President Yoon-Seok-yeol last month and the 18th since the beginning of 2022.

In response to North Korea's missile launches, South Korea and the US launched eight missiles into the East Sea the following day.

Since last year, tensions have mounted on the Korean Peninsula as both the North and South have engaged in frequent military drills to show their military strength.

Hüseyin Demir