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US, Japan and South Korea discuss North Korean nuclear program


US, Japan and South Korea discuss North Korean nuclear program

US Japan and South Korea discuss North Korean nuclear program
Foreign ministers from the US, Japan, and South Korea meet to discuss the North Korean nuclear program – Photo: Jung Yeon-Je/Pool/Reuters

US, Japanese, and South Korean foreign ministers will meet today in Honolulu to discuss the North Korean nuclear program.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will host Japan’s Yoshimasa Hayashi and South Korea’s Chung Eui-yong to discuss deepening cooperation in addressing threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Recent ballistic tests raised fears Pyongyang may resume consistent testing of its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missiles, which it has not done since 2017. North Korea’s power comes from its unpredictable behavior, which often results in offers to stop testing in exchange for aid and concessions.

While the recently tested Hwasong-12 ballistic missiles cannot reach Hawaii or the mainland, certain territories including Guam are within striking distance. South Korea and Japan lie in the missile’s range, with two tests in 2017 flying over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

Expect today’s summit to lead to another ministerial defense meeting. Blinken and his counterparts will likely reaffirm the importance of security cooperation but can do little until Pyongyang clarifies its intentions. While food aid to Pyongyang is a perennial recourse to which the allies would likely agree, economic aid is also a possibility as North Korea struggles under pandemic-related border closures.

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