CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff hosted a trilateral conference with South Korean and Japanese military leaders here yesterday.
Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford and his counterparts, South Korean Air Force Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, met at the U.S. Pacific Command (Pacom) headquarters.
The leaders focused on trilateral cooperation in Northeast Asia to respond to increasingly provocative actions from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The North Korean leader is persisting in developing nuclear weapons and the missile systems to deliver them. He is continuing this effort in the face of nearly universal condemnation and in defiance of a number of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
This was the fifth trilateral meeting among the leaders since July 2014. The military defense chiefs were joined by Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr., the Pacom commander; Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea and the United Nations Command; and Air Force Lt. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez, the commander of U.S. Forces Japan.
Violations of International Norms
The chiefs of defense exchanged views and information on the North Korean violations of international norms. These include testing a nuclear device on Sept. 3 and missile launches that overflew Japan's Hokkaido island in July. The men "agreed to firmly respond to the acts in full coordination with each other," according to a Joint Staff statement describing the meeting.
In addition, the statement said, the three chiefs also discussed multilateral and trilateral initiatives designed to improve interoperability and readiness. Both Japan and South Korea have mutual defense treaties with the United States, and each country has excellent military-to-military relations with the U.S. military, officials added in the statement.
"They agreed to explore their collective capabilities in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as leveraging their unique competencies in the cyber domain" through the 2016 General Security of Military Information Agreement, the statement said.
The three chiefs called on Kim to stop his provocative behavior, and "walk away from its destructive and reckless path of [weapons of mass destruction] development," the Joint Staff statement said.
For his part, Dunford stressed America's "ironclad" commitment to defend South Korea and Japan, and he reaffirmed the extended deterrence guaranteed by the full spectrum of U.S. military capabilities, including conventional, nuclear and missile defense assets.
The senior leaders vowed to continue to work together on mutual security concerns to enhance peace and stability in the region, the statement said.