“The exercises took place from August 8-14. (…) their participants from the United States, Japan and South Korea shared information (…) in accordance with the trilateral information exchange agreement,” the US Department of Defense said.
Following the June 11 US-South Korea-Japan trilateral ministerial meeting in Singapore, the Pentagon explained that the exercises show the countries’ determination to deepen mutual cooperation. It responds to the challenges posed by North Korea to safeguard common security and prosperity and strengthen the international order.
Bloomberg reminded, among others, that the exercises have been held every two years since 2012. However, they were not broadcast in 2018 or 2020 due to strong tensions between Tokyo and Seoul.
“Furthermore, South Korea’s then-president, Mun Tse-in, was wary of announcing military maneuvers that could damage relations with China or damage relations with North Korea,” Bloomberg noted.
He said conservative President Jun Suk-geol, who replaced Moon in May, has stepped up joint exercises with the United States as his government has taken a tougher stance on China and North Korea. President Joe Biden’s administration has tried to strengthen its alliance with Japan and South Korea, trying to build a united front on issues ranging from defense to semiconductor supplies.
“The purpose of these drills is to strengthen the response capability against ballistic missiles and improve the ability to conduct joint operations,” South Korea’s Defense Ministry estimated on Tuesday (later).
In turn, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Japanese counterpart Yasukazu Hamada called after the exercise, the Japanese Defense Ministry said. They agreed on the importance of cooperation with South Korea regarding the situation in North Korea.
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