South Korea, Japan, US to hold defence talks in mid-April

South Korea, Japan, US to hold defence talks in mid-April

22Seoul, March 28 (IANS) High-ranking military officials from South Korea, Japan and the US will hold tripartite talks in Washington next month on defence coordination against the backdrop of nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.

Col. Wi Wong-seop, vice spokesman at the South Korean defence ministry, told a routine press briefing that the sixth round of the two-day defence trilateral talks would be held from April 17 in Washington DC, Xinhua reported Friday.

Wi said the three allies would discuss how to tackle nuclear and missile threats from North Korea as well as trans-national non-military threats such as humanitarian and disaster relief.

The defence dialogue was launched in 2008.

The sixth round came as a follow-up action to the trilateral summit between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe under the arbitration of US President Barack Obama.

During the summit, which was held on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands earlier this week, the three heads of state agreed to hold tripartite talks among top nuclear envoys who represent the long-suspended six-party talks, stressing the need for the senior-level defense dialogue.

South Korea was yet to appoint its top delegate to the six-way dialogue. The post remained vacant after former envoy Cho Tae-yong was promoted to vice foreign minister in late February.

Tensions escalated in the Korean Peninsula after North Korea launched two medium-range ballistic missiles Wednesday morning.

Those were believed to be Rodong missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

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