Japan, US, S.Korea foreign vice ministers likely discuss N.Korea

Japan, the United States and South Korea held a foreign-vice-ministerial meeting in Seoul on Wednesday. The diplomats are believed to have agreed to jointly deal with North Korea, which is reportedly preparing for its seventh nuclear test.

Japan's Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Mori Takeo, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and South Korea's First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Hyundong attended the trilateral meeting. It was their first in-person meeting since November.

They are expected to have discussed how to deal with North Korea, which has repeated test-firings of ballistic and other missiles 17 times this year, an unprecedented frequency.

The US has cautioned that North Korea may have finished preparing for its seventh nuclear test, and could soon carry it out. The participants are believed to have confirmed that they will share intelligence updates and coordinate their responses.

The participants are also likely to have discussed how to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine and China's increasing maritime activities.

Wednesday's meeting followed three-way talks among senior officials in charge of North Korea issues held in Seoul last week.

Arrangements are also underway for a meeting of defense ministers from the three countries this weekend. It will take place on the sidelines of a security forum in Singapore known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.
The ministers will meet face-to-face for the first time in about two-and-a-half years.