South Korea, the United States and Japan agreed Tuesday to promote trilateral cooperation to tackle North Korea's belligerence highlighted by another ballistic missile launch last weekend.
The regional powers strongly denounced Pyongyang for the missile test, as their working-level defense officials had a video conference on the issue, South Korea's defense ministry said.
They stressed it was in clear violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions on the North that prohibits it from conducting any launches using ballistic missile technology.
They also made it clear that the North's illicit ballistic missile development program is an "unacceptable threat" to the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, according to the ministry.
The U.S. reassured its key regional allies of its "ironclad" security commitment, and the three parties agreed to further strengthen partnerships.
South Korea was represented by Brig. Gen. Park Chul-kyun, deputy director general for international policy at the ministry. His counterparts were Christopher Johnston, U.S. acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, and Koji Kano, Japanese director for defense policy.
Earlier in the day, the U.N. Security Council issued a statement, backed by China, condemning the North for its latest missile firing, which came less than a week after South Korea embraced its new liberal president seeking inter-Korean dialogue.
Concern has grown about the possibility that the reclusive communist neighbor will test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile in the coming months. (Yonhap)