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US, Japan, S. Korea Warn N Korea Of Consequences Against "further Provocations"

The United States, Japan and South Korea have warned that if North Korea carries out "any further provocations, including a nuclear test, that country will bear responsibility for the consequences it will face for disregarding the overwhelming views of the international community."

The warning was given in a joint statement issued by the three countries after their officials met in Tokyo for the two-day annual Defense Trilateral Talks. The plenary session included discussion on a wide variety of issues including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, non-proliferation, the regional security situation and North Korea.

North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs constitute a serious threat to international peace and security and undermine the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the North East Asia Region, says the statement released by the Pentagon.

The allies have made it clear that they will "closely coordinate to deter a potential DPRK nuclear test and to respond to ballistic missile threats," adding that "in this process the three countries will closely cooperate with the international community, including China and Russia."

The DTTs are a regular cooperative dialogue between the United States, Japan and South Korea and have been held annually since 2008.

Increasing concern over North Korea's continued missile and nuclear tests and threatening statements that it will step up such activities only helped the three allied nations to come closer and strengthen their military alliance and co-ordination to evolve a readiness against a potential attack from Pyongyang.

Japan's key security ally since the end of World War II, U.S. currently has more than 50,000 troops in that country. Three Cold War-era security treaties signed between the U.S. and Japan have balanced military power in North-East Asia since World War II. Under the agreement, Japan, which is bound by its Constitution not to maintain a war-ready army, subsidizes the U.S. military presence while in return, the U.S. guarantees Japan's security. It also allows the United States to use without notice its military facilities on Japanese soil in case of trouble in the United States.

South Korea, one of the staunch U.S. allies in Asia, hosts 28,500 American soldiers based at Camp Casey, near the DMZ, and U.S. personnel have helped guarantee security in the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The Korean War, in which the U.S. troops fought on the side of South Korea, ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, hence North Korea technically remains at war with both sides.

North Korea last week threatened a nuclear test hours after the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution condemning its December 12 long-range rocket launch despite call by the international community to desist from the move. Many countries believe that it was a disguised attempt to test an inter-continental ballistic missile, a charge denied by Pyongyang.

South Korean officials say they have information that the North has completed all preparations and can detonate a nuclear device at any time.

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