Korea-Japan-U.S. defense ministerial talks are in the works

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Korea-Japan-U.S. defense ministerial talks are in the works

Korea, the United States and Japan are discussing the possibility of holding trilateral talks between their defense ministers, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
Defense Ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan made the remarks in response to a journalist’s question about a report by the Japanese broadcaster NHK that the three countries are coordinating preparations for possible talks in Hawaii in mid-January between Defense Minister Suh Wook, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.
“We are currently in consultations with the relevant countries regarding the issue of holding a trilateral defense ministerial meeting,” Boo told reporters at the regular press briefing.
Boo remarked that Seoul and Washington had reached an understanding through their annual Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul earlier this month and other high-level talks that the allies will seek to hold three-way defense talks with Japan at an early date.
The last trilateral defense ministers’ meeting between the United States and its two allies in East Asia took place on the sidelines of security talks involving Asean in Bangkok in November 2019.
If held, the trilateral talks come at a time when Washington is trying to rally its East Asian allies and strengthen cooperation between the two to counter an increasingly assertive China as the United States finds itself locked in an intensifying rivalry with the country on multiple fronts, including technology, security, trade and supply chains.

BY MICHAEL LEE [lee.junhyuk@joongang.co.kr]
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