Back To Top

US, Japan, S. Korea enhancing trilateral cooperation against N. Korean provocations: Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is seen speaking during a joint press conference at the state department in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. (US Department of State)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is seen speaking during a joint press conference at the state department in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. (US Department of State)

WASHINGTON -- The United States is working with South Korea and Japan to strengthen their trilateral cooperation against North Korea's reckless provocations, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated Wednesday.

The top US diplomat also reaffirmed US support for Japan's new National Security Strategy that will arm Tokyo with counter-strike capabilities.

"In the face of the DPRK's unlawful and reckless missile launches, including the launch of a long range ballistic missile over Japan in October, we are deepening our trilateral cooperation with the Republic of Korea to deter and, if necessary, defend against aggression," Blinken said in a joint press conference with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada.

The four held the annual Security Consultative Committee meeting in Washington earlier in the day.

North Korea fired some 70 ballistic missiles, including eight intercontinental ballistic missiles, in 2022 alone, far exceeding its previous annual record of 25.

Hayashi said the four ministers strongly condemned North Korea's missile launches and "reaffirmed our unwavering commitment was the complete denuclearization of North Korea based on U.N. Security Council resolutions."

"With our positions perfectly aligned, we agreed to continue to work closely together in responding to the North Korea issue, including the pursuit of immediate resolution of the addiction issue," the Japanese foreign minister added, referring to the issue of Japanese nationals believed to be abducted by North Korea decades ago.

The Two Plus Two meeting came after Tokyo unveiled its plan to double its national defense spending to two percent of the country's gross domestic product over the next five years in its latest national security strategy and national defense strategy released late last year.

"These new strategies make clear Japan's commitment to invest in enhancing its capabilities, to take on new roles, and foster even closer defense cooperation with the United States and our mutual partners," Blinken said of Japan's new national strategies.

Austin said the US strongly supports Japan's plan to acquire counter-strike capabilities.

"We also discussed updating our alliance's roles and missions, so that Japan can more actively contribute to regional security alongside the United States and other like-minded partners," the US defense chief told the briefing.

"And so in our meeting today, we strongly endorsed Japan's decision to acquire a counter-strike capability, and we affirm that close coordination on employing this capability will strengthen the US-Japan alliance," he added.

Austin also reaffirmed US commitment to providing extended deterrence, saying, "I want to reaffirm the United States' ironclad commitment to defend Japan with a full range of capabilities, including nuclear.

Wednesday's meeting comes as a prelude to a bilateral summit to be held in Washington on Friday between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. (Yonhap)