North Korea’s missile launches are a common threat to Japan, the United States and South Korea. It is necessary for the three countries to work together on concrete measures to strengthen their deterrence.
The foreign ministers of Japan, the United States and South Korea held a joint press conference in Hawaii to condemn North Korea’s missile launches.
This was the first joint statement at the foreign ministerial level in five years. The three countries agreed to expand security cooperation to deal with North Korea and to ensure a rules-based international order in the face of China’s hegemonic behavior.
In recent years, cooperation among the three countries has stalled over issues such as the South Korean Supreme Court ruling that ordered compensation for former conscripts (workers from the Korean Peninsula).
Despite this ongoing confrontation, the fact that the three countries have confirmed their intention to strengthen cooperation in order to promote regional stability can be considered a step forward.
In January, North Korea launched seven missiles, including one believed to be hypersonic, suggesting that it may resume nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches, which it announced it would stop in 2018. It has also hinted at resuming nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches, which it announced it would suspend in 2018.
It is imperative that Japan, the U.S. and South Korea work together to enhance their deterrence and response capabilities to prevent North Korea from exploding.
If each of the three countries operates its own radar, it may not be possible to ascertain the flight paths of North Korean missiles. If the three countries can share data quickly, they will be able to improve their missile defense capabilities.
The evacuation of Japanese citizens from South Korea in the event of an emergency has become an issue, but it is said that South Korea is reluctant to accept the Self-Defense Forces and has not been able to formulate an effective plan.
These security issues must be discussed in detail among the defense authorities of the three countries.
The joint statement urged North Korea to cease its provocative actions and return to denuclearization talks. It also reiterated its call for the international community to fully implement the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions resolutions, including the ban on trade in coal, which is considered to be North Korea’s means of earning foreign currency.
The Security Council is currently unable to even issue a statement condemning the missile launch due to opposition from China and Russia. Japan, the U.S. and South Korea should work in unison to urge China and Russia to engage in strategic diplomacy.
Japan, the U.S. and South Korea agreed to promote a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” and the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait was clearly stated in the statement. It is appropriate that the two countries are aligned in their policies toward China.
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi met separately with the South Korean foreign minister and asked for an appropriate response to the issue of former conscript workers. South Korea’s action to resolve the pending issues is essential for a full-fledged improvement in Japan-Korea relations.