President Yoon Suk-yel, US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hold a trilateral meeting at IFEMA in Madrid, Spain on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
MADRID -- Leaders of South Korea, the US and Japan expressed concern about the North Korean nuclear threat and reaffirmed their will to jointly devise a strong deterrent against North Korea, in a three way summit before the NATO allies and partners summit on Wednesday.
The trilateral talk was the first in four years and nine months since the last held on the occasion of the UN General Assembly in September 2017.
The three-way summit was organized against a backdrop of a prolonged Russian invasion of Ukraine and expected seventh nuclear test by North.
Joe Biden made the first speech of the meeting, saying this is an opportunity to further coordinate our trilateral alliance, specifically with regard to North Korea.
“Our trilateral cooperation in my view is essential to achieving our shared objective, including a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a free and open Indo Pacific,” he said.
“I look forward to additional dialogues in this format as we continue to strengthen the trilateral engagement.”
Biden said the US remains deeply concerned North Korea’s continued escalatory ballistic missiles and tests and to conduct a nuclear test. And I'm particularly pleased that this meeting is taking place on the margin of this historic NATO summit.
Yoon said the importance of South Korea-US-Japan cooperation has grown even greater in a situation where the instability of the international situation has increased due to the heightened threat of North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.
“The Korea-US-Japan summit, held for the first time in about five years, shows the will of the three countries to strengthen cooperation to resolve regional and global issues,” he said.
“I hope this meeting will enable Korea-US cooperation to become an important centerpiece for world peace and stability.”
Kishida said the possibility of further provocative actions, including North Korea, is becoming increasingly serious. Including strengthening the deterrence of Korea-US alliance during President Biden's visit to Japan, strengthening cooperation among Korea, the US and Japan is inevitable, he said.
“I think it is very timely for the Korea-US-Japan summit to be held this time,” he said, adding, “South Korea, the US and Japan will strengthen cooperation on North Korea's ballistic missile launch.”
He welcomed the consensus on the recent three-nation missile warning exercise and ballistic missile detection and tracking exercise. “Even in the event of a (North Korea’s) nuclear test, South Korea, the US and Japan will work together to deal with it through joint exercises.”
To strengthen the deterrence of Korea-US alliance, he said Japan would fundamentally enhance Japan's defense capabilities. He thanked Yoon for his efforts to resolve the abduction issue immediately and asked for continued support.
By Shin Ji-hye
Korea Herald correspondent