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The US, South Korea and Japan agree to hold joint military exercises

REUTERS/CAROLINE CHIA Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik attend a trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shangri-la dialogue in Singapore.

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REUTERS/CAROLINE CHIA

Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik attend a trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore.

SEOUL/TOKYO, >> The United States, Japan and South Korea have agreed to hold new trilateral joint exercises this summer, a joint statement from the US Department of Defense said on Sunday, following a meeting of the defense ministers of the three allies.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara and South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik met in Singapore on Sunday on the sidelines of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security summit there.

The three “committed to continuing to strengthen trilateral cooperation to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, the Indo-Pacific and beyond,” the statement said.

The three also agreed to establish a Trilateral Framework for Security Cooperation this year to institutionalize their three-way defense cooperation.

The three countries’ top defense officials criticized North Korea’s recent launches of ballistic missiles and a military spy satellite that uses ballistic missile technology as a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.