ID :
Mon, 06/03/2024 - 01:37
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Japan, U.S., S. Korea to Begin Freedom Edge Exercise This Summer

Singapore, June 2 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese, U.S. and South Korean defense ministers agreed at a meeting in Singapore on Sunday to conduct the three countries' new Freedom Edge defense exercise for the first time this summer. 

The move comes after the three countries' leaders agreed at a trilateral summit in the United States in August last year to bring the three countries' security cooperation to "new heights," in light of the moves of Russia and China.

At Sunday's meeting, Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean National Defense Minister Shin Won-sik also agreed to conduct a trilateral tabletop exercise to jointly respond to any regional emergencies.

According to a joint statement released after the meeting, the three discussed "new initiatives to strengthen and institutionalize trilateral security cooperation to contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, in the Indo-Pacific region, and beyond."

They reaffirmed "their enduring commitment to strengthen trilateral security cooperation to deter nuclear and missile threats posed by" North Korea, while criticizing China's "dangerous and aggressive behavior" in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, the Japanese and South Korean ministers "highlighted the importance of their bilateral ties and trilateral cooperation to protect and advance their shared security goals." On Saturday, they held a bilateral meeting and agreed on measures to prevent a repeat of a 2018 incident in which a South Korean warship directed its fire control radar toward a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force plane.

Also on Sunday, Kihara, Shin and their Australian counterpart, Richard Marles, attended the first-ever trilateral meeting of the three countries' defense chiefs. The meeting was held at Australia's initiative, and the participants confirmed cooperation among the three Indo-Pacific allies of the United States, according to Japanese defense officials.