The Associated Press
Japan, South Korea and the United States are negotiating an agreement on sharing real-time data on North Korean missile launches, as cooperation among the three nations becomes increasingly important amid growing nuclear and missile threats from the North, Tokyo’s chief government spokesperson said in early May 2023.
“I understand that defense authorities are vigorously proceeding to set up an arrangement,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said. “The security environment surrounding Japan and South Korea is becoming more severe and more complex, and coordination between the two countries as well as trilaterally with the United States has become increasingly important.”
Japan and South Korea are U.S. allies, and cooperation is key to the nations’ security strategy in the Indo-Pacific as tensions grow with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), North Korea and Russia.
Japan and South Korea have been separately linked to data from U.S. radar systems but not directly to each other. Leaders of the three countries agreed in November 2022 to speed up information sharing on North Korean ballistic missile launches.
Tokyo and Seoul are nearing agreement on connecting their radars via a U.S. system to share real-time North Korean missile warning information, which would strengthen Japanese missile defense capabilities, The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported in May 2023.
The countries are expected to reach an agreement in early June 2023 on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual defense ministers’ conference in Singapore, where Japanese and South Korean defense ministers will hold bilateral talks, the Japanese newspaper reported.
Cooperation between Japan and South Korea has increased in recent months, largely because of their shared sense of urgency over escalating regional security threats.
(Pictured: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, meets with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul, South Korea, in May 2023.)
IMAGE CREDIT: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS