Trilateral talks between U.S., Japanese and South Korean national security advisers focus on North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs

U.S. Presidential National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Japanese Security Chief Shigeru Kitamura and South Korean National Security Office Chief Suh Hoon issued a joint statement after a day of talks at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

The joint statement said, “The national security advisers shared concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and reaffirmed their commitment to address and resolve these issues through trilateral coordination toward denuclearization.”

The three national security advisers also agreed that the international community, including North Korea, must “fully implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions” and “prevent proliferation, cooperate to strengthen deterrence and maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

The statement also said they discussed the importance of reuniting separated families on the Korean Peninsula and quickly resolving the abduction issue.

The U.S. reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining alliances with South Korea and Japan, and Japan and South Korea “emphasized the importance of their bilateral relationship and trilateral cooperation to our citizens, the region and the world,” the joint statement said.

Before the trilateral talks began, a senior U.S. administration official said in a background briefing Thursday that the primary topic of the talks would be consideration of North Korea policy.

Analysts also noted that the Biden administration hopes that South Korea and Japan, which have historical grudges, will improve bilateral relations and strengthen security cooperation.

The senior U.S. administration official, who asked not to be named, also said Thursday that Friday’s trilateral talks will also touch on other regional issues of mutual concern, including the situation in Myanmar and Beijing’s increasingly assertive behavior in the South China Sea.

Friday’s joint statement mentioned Burma but did not explicitly mention the Chinese Communist Party.

The joint statement said the talks “consulted on deliberations regarding U.S. policy on North Korea and discussed issues of mutual concern, including Indo-Pacific security. The three national security advisers “reaffirmed their strong commitment to work together to protect and advance their common security goals.

The statement concluded, “The national security advisers discussed the value of working together to address other top challenges, including new coronaviruses, efforts to prevent future pandemics, combating climate change and promoting the immediate restoration of democracy in Burma. They agreed to strengthen ties and advance a common vision based on our shared values.”

It was the first such trilateral meeting since Joe Biden became president of the United States. The talks come after North Korea test-fired a cruise missile and two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.