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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The national security advisers of the United States, South Korea and Japan will meet in Seoul this week to discuss North Korea’s growing military threat and other regional security issues as they continue to promote trilateral cooperation in Asia.
South Korea’s presidential office said its national security office director, Cho Tae-yong, will host a three-way meeting in Seoul on Saturday with U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Japanese National Security Secretariat Secretary General Takeo Akiba for in-depth discussions on North Korea and other matters related to security, technology, and trade. Cho will also hold bilateral meetings with Sullivan and Akiba on Friday.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the meetings will be driven by a “robust agenda of discussions of regional issues of mutual concerns, particularly in the security environment” as the countries continue to build on an August summit between their leaders in Camp David, where they vowed to deepen three-way security and economic cooperation.
Japan’s prime minister’s office said the discussions on North Korea will include that country’s recent launch of its first military reconnaissance satellite, a device North Korean leader Kim Jong Un described as crucial for monitoring U.S. and South Korean military movements and enhancing the threat of his nuclear-capable missiles.
There are also broader concerns about a potential arms alignment between North Korea and Russia, in which the North provides badly needed munitions to fuel Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine in exchange for possible Russian technology assistance to advance Kim’s nuclear-armed military.
South Korean intelligence officials have said that the Russians likely provided technology support for North Korea’s successful satellite launch in November, which followed two failed launches. Many outside experts question whether the North’s satellite is sophisticated enough to send militarily useful high-resolution imagery.
Both Pyongyang and Moscow have denied U.S. and South Korean claims that the North has been shipping artillery shells and other arms supplies to Russia in recent months.