The United States of America, Japan, and South Korea have resolved to continue close consultations for dealing effectively with common security threats, and reiterated that any provocation by North Korea, including another nuclear test or missile launch, will be met with a resolute and coordinated response.
The decision was made on Thursday at a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the three allies on the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.
This was the third such meeting among the three sides in the past two years, "aimed to strengthen our trilateral cooperation based on our shared values and amplify our efforts to address challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and globally," says a joint statement issued by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, and their South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-hwan.
The Ministers recognized that the U.S.-South Korea and the U.S.-Japan Alliances and the South Korea-Japan partnership are essential to the maintenance of peace and stability in Asia. The Ministers reaffirmed their mutual bilateral responsibilities and steadfast commitments under the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty and the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the U.S. and Japan.
The Ministers urged North Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, including uranium enrichment, in a "complete, verifiable and irreversible manner," and to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the denuclearization of North Korea. They reiterated that any provocation by North Korea, including another nuclear test or missile launch, will be met with a resolute and coordinated response from the international community, as indicated in the April 16 Presidential Statement of the UN Security Council. The Ministers noted that a different path remains open to North Korea if it refrains from provocations and complies with its international obligations and commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and UN Security Council Resolutions.
The Ministers expressed deep concern about the well-being of the North Korean people and the grave human rights situation in that country. They called on North Korea to put its people first by respecting their human rights, and addressing their humanitarian needs, including holding family reunions and resolving all abduction and detention cases.
The allies pledged to closely consult on their policy toward North Korea, and to continue to strengthen cooperation with China and Russia in this regard. The Ministers also underscored the importance of sustained cooperation with the international community to ensure full implementation of relevant international sanctions and to improve human rights in North Korea. The Ministers welcomed Chinese and Russian engagement to urge North Korea to live up to its international obligations and commitments.
The Ministers pledged to strengthen their cooperation to reinforce regional cooperation mechanisms, including ASEAN, ARF and EAS, as a foundation for multi-lateralism in the region. The allies decided to seek opportunities for trilateral cooperation to prepare for natural disasters and pandemics.
The Ministers encouraged the efforts by the ASEAN and China for making progress on an ASEAN-China Code of Conduct based on international law and the spirit of the Declaration of Conduct, as it is expected to manage and regulate the conduct of parties in the South China Sea. The Ministers resolved to coordinate to promote the effectiveness of development assistance around the world, with a particular focus on the Mekong region via the Friends of the Lower Mekong framework.
The Ministers announced the formation of a working-level Steering Group, based in Washington, D.C., to facilitate trilateral cooperation.
by RTT Staff Writer
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