U.S., Japan, South Korea to share intelligence on North Korea missiles

SEOUL, Sept. 8 (UPI) — The United States, South Korea and Japan have started a new initiative to share military intelligence on North Korea ballistic missiles.

The three countries began an exchange of vital data on Thursday through video conferencing, South Korean news service Money Today reported.

North Korea fired three midrange ballistic missiles on Monday that landed in Japanese territorial waters. Tokyo repeatedly failed to destroy the incoming projectiles.

On Thursday, Christopher Johnstone, the Pentagon policy expert for Northeast Asia; Park Cheol-gyun, deputy head of the international policy bureau at South Korea’s defense ministry; and Koji Kano, principal director of the defense policy bureau at Tokyo’s defense ministry presided over the talks.

The three sides condemned North Korea’s violations of U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions and emphasized the need for council members to respond more effectively.

North Korea has touted the recent launches. The Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Tuesday that Kim Jong Un had provided on-site guidance to the military at the time of the launch.

The trilateral video meeting on Thursday is a prelude to greater cooperation expected to take place between Seoul and Tokyo as Pyongyang steps up provocations.

On Thursday, Seoul’s foreign ministry stated the reinstatement of any kind of military intelligence sharing between the two countries is to take place on the condition Seoul secures the “sufficient understanding and cooperation” of the Korean public.

In 2012, an agreement to share intelligence with Tokyo was canceled at the last minute due to South Korean domestic wariness of cooperating with Japan on intelligence.

But experts in South Korea are now mostly in agreement the Japan-Korea GSOMIA is necessary in the wake of recent threats, according to Yonhap.

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