U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-Sup, and Japanese Minister of Defense Kishi Nobuo convened a Trilateral Ministerial Meeting in Singapore on June 11. During the meeting, the three ministers discussed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), enhancing trilateral security cooperation, and addressing common security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Ministers pledged that the United States, Japan, and the ROK will cooperate closely toward their shared commitment to achieve the complete denuclearization of, and the establishment of permanent peace on, the Korean Peninsula. Additionally, they affirmed the importance of full implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) by the international community. They underscored the importance of sustained international cooperation to deter, disrupt, and ultimately eliminate the DPRK’s illicit ship-to-ship transfers. They recognized the international community’s shared goal of the DPRK’s full compliance with its international obligations in accordance with all relevant UNSCRs. They also shared their deep concerns about the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, which pose a grave threat to international peace and stability, and committed to address these concerns through concerted trilateral cooperation.
They further committed to conduct trilateral missile warning and ballistic missile search and tracking exercises, and to identify further trilateral actions in order to address DPRK ballistic missile launches. They strongly condemned the DPRK’s repeated unlawful ballistic missile launches and confirmed that any launches of ballistic missiles by the DPRK are a clear violation of multiple UNSCRs. In addition, they shared the recognition that defense-related confidence building among countries in the region is important and committed to strengthening cooperation to institutionalize such efforts.
The Ministers discussed other regional security issues and concurred in the importance of deepening trilateral cooperation on key issues to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region, including information sharing, high-level policy consultations, and combined exercises. They expressed strong opposition to any unilateral actions that seek to alter the status quo and increase tensions in the region. They emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. They shared concerns on activities that are inconsistent with the international rules-based order and stressed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight. They also reaffirmed that all disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner in accordance with the principles of international law.
The United States reaffirmed its steadfast alliance commitments to Japan and the ROK backed by the full range of U.S. capabilities, including nuclear. Japan and the ROK highlighted the importance of their bilateral ties and trilateral cooperation to protect and advance their shared security goals. The Ministers committed to work closely together for peace and stability in the region and around the world.