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US, Japan, Philippines stress Korean Peninsula denuclearization goal, decry NK threats

April 12, 2024 - 10:44 By Yonhap
U.S. President Joe Biden (center) stands alongside Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida before a trilateral meeting at the White House in Washington on Thursday. (AP-Yonhap)

The United States, Japan and the Philippines affirmed their commitment to the "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and denounced North Korea's growing military threats in their joint statement Thursday.

Following their countries' first-ever trilateral summit in Washington, President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued the "joint vision" statement, noting Pyongyang's provocative actions have "severe security implications" for the Indo-Pacific and Europe.

The three-way summit is part of the Biden administration's initiative to create a "lattice-like" network of regional allies for multilayered cooperation in the face of China's growing assertiveness, Russia's protracted war against Ukraine and North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats.

"Our three nations affirm our commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and strongly condemn the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's escalatory threats and unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches, including multiple intercontinental ballistic missile launches, which pose a grave threat to peace and security," they said in the statement.

DPRK is the North's official name.

The leaders also "strongly" urged the North to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions and refrain from continued development, testing and transfer of ballistic missiles to any country, including Russia.

They pointed out that Russia has used North Korean missiles against Ukraine, while reiterating their "unwavering" support for Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

In addition, they emphasized the importance of addressing human rights and humanitarian concerns about North Korea, including the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.

On China, they expressed "serious" concerns about its "dangerous and aggressive" behavior in the South China Sea, while reiterating their "strong" opposition to any attempts by China to unilaterally change the status quo by force or coercion in the East China Sea.

"We are also concerned by the militarization of reclaimed features and unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea," they said. "We steadfastly oppose the dangerous and coercive use of Coast Guard and maritime militia vessels in the South China Sea, as well as efforts to disrupt other countries' offshore resource exploitation."

The three sides announced the establishment of a trilateral maritime dialogue to enhance coordination and collective responses to promote maritime cooperation and unveiled a plan to conduct a maritime training activity around Japan next year.

They also decried Russia's threats of nuclear weapon use amid the war in Ukraine as "unacceptable."

"We state unequivocally that any use of a nuclear weapon by Russia in Ukraine would be completely unjustifiable," he said.

Moreover, the leaders welcomed US-led groupings for regional stability, including the trilateral cooperation framework, involving South Korea, the US and Japan, and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue that consists of the US, Australia, India and Japan. (Yonhap)