(Bloomberg) -- Top national security officials from the US, South Korea and Japan pledged to deepen their security cooperation and jointly respond to North Korea’s cyber activities, which it uses to bolster funding for its sanctioned nuclear and missile programs.
The three countries are pushing for a new trilateral initiative to act against North Korea’s military threats as well as cyber crimes and cryptocurrency money laundering, the officials — Jake Sullivan of the US, Takeo Akiba of Japan and South Korea’s Cho Tae-yong — said Saturday following a meeting in Seoul, according to Yonhap.
Despite historic tensions between Japan and South Korea, the two nations have joined with their shared American ally to strengthen security cooperation and coordination on regional threats.
A White House statement late Friday cited discussions on “emerging threats, including the concerning developments related to weapons transfers between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Russia.”
At their meeting, the three officials reaffirmed North Korea’s obligations to end its nuclear weapons program. They added that they are implementing plans to share information in real time about missile launches from adversaries in the region.
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The three nations previously condemned North Korea’s Nov. 21 launch of a rocket that put a spy satellite in orbit. While officials in Seoul said they expect the satellite’s technology to be rudimentary, it may help Kim Jong Un’s regime target US troops stationed in South Korea and Japan.
The US and South Korea have for months accused Kim of sending munitions to President Vladimir Putin to help in his war in Ukraine. In return, Moscow is believed to be providing technology and support for Kim’s military programs, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a visit to Seoul in November.
The leaders of the three nations held a historic summit at the Camp David US presidential retreat in August where they hammered out practical steps to counter threats by North Korea, measures to de-risk global supply chains from exposure to China and moves to cement their trilateral relationship.
--With assistance from Jordan Fabian.
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