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Joint press release issued regarding Korea-US-Japan Defense Mini...

Joint press release issued regarding Korea-US-Japan Defense Ministers’ Meeting at the 20th Shangri-La Dialogue 

- Strongly condemned North Korea’s firing of a long-range ballistic missile on May 31 that it claimed to be a satellite, and pledged a firm response along with the international community
- To operate a system to share North Korean missile warning data in real time within this year, and accelerate working-level consultations
- To resume a trilateral exercise on a regular basis and identify additional areas of cooperation such as disaster response and humanitarian support exercises

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, and Japan’s Minister of Defense Yasukazu Hamada held a trilateral defense ministers’ meeting in Singapore, on June 3, 2023. In the meeting, the ministers of the three countries discussed North Korea’s advanced nuclear and missile threats and how to strengthen trilateral exercises to deter them. Furthermore, they exchanged views on ways to respond to common security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

The three ministers pledged close partnership on the common goal of attaining complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula in accordance with a UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR). They vociferously denounced and expressed deep concern over North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile program that pose grave threats to the peace and stability of the international community, and agreed to respond to these developments with closely coordinated trilateral cooperation. In particular, they strongly condemned North Korea’s recent firing of a long-range ballistic missile, which it claimed to be a space launch vehicle. This action represented a serious violation of the UN Security Council resolutions banning launches using ballistic missile technology. They reached a consensus to react firmly, bolstered by trilateral and international community cooperation.

The three ministers also urged the international community to completely implement the UN Security Council resolutions. They emphasized that it is important to continue international efforts to restrain, prevent and ultimately eradicate North Korea’s illegal transshipments, and they called for North Korea to end irresponsible acts that escalate tension on the Korean Peninsula immediately and observe every obligation of the UN Security Council resolutions.

Furthermore, the three ministers agreed to operate a system to share North Korean missile warning data in real time within this year to promote the ability of countries to detect and assess North Korea’s missiles according to an agreement reached between President Yoon Suk Yeol, US President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the summit in Phnom Penh on November 13, 2022. The three concurred on discussing ongoing developments in working-level consultations regarding technical issues, and confirmed that this is an important procedure for deterrence, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region. They pledged to make further progress within a few months towards operating a real-time missile warning data sharing mechanism.

The three ministers reconfirmed their commitment to strengthen trilateral coordination and cooperation among Korea, the United States, and Japan, utilizing the Trilateral Information-Sharing Agreement (TISA) signed in 2014. Also, they welcomed the recent normalization of the Korea-Japan General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). Moreover, they concurred on the importance of building confidence related to defense among countries in the region and deepening cooperation to put these efforts into a system.

The three ministers discussed regional security situations along with North Korea’s threats. They established a consensus that regarding key outstanding issues for the promotion of a free and open Indo-Pacific, it is important to promote trilateral cooperation including information sharing, high-level policy consultation and trilateral exercises.

Furthermore, they reconfirmed a promise to resume maritime interdiction exercises and counter-piracy exercises soon, and agreed to identify additional areas of trilateral cooperation such as disaster response and humanitarian support. Moreover, they arrived at an agreement to strengthen their defense readiness to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, and to conduct regular defense exercises such as anti-submarine warfare exercises and maritime missile defense exercises to contain the North’s threats. 

The three ministers stressed the importance of law and order, and expressed strong opposition to unilateral action that attempts to change status in quo by force and escalate tension in the region. They reconfirmed that they side with Ukraine and oppose Russia’s cruel and unjustified aggression and that this war is a serious violation of territorial integrity and sovereignty and weakens the structure of the entire international order. Concerning the Taiwan Strait, they emphasized the importance of peace and stability, and expressed concern over acts that are not in compliance with international laws including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and that it is important to fully respect international orders including the freedom of navigation and overflight, and other legitimate uses of the oceans.

The United States reconfirmed its firm defense commitment for Korea and Japan backed by capabilities in all spheres including nuclear weapons. Korea and Japan emphasized that bilateral and trilateral cooperation are important to protect and promote common security goals. The defense officials of the three countries also agreed to closely cooperate to protect peace and stability in the regions and the world.


  • (Presentation and Follow-on discussion)