Officials from the US, the Republic of Korea, and Japan on Thursday came together to condemn the recent launch of a missile by North Korea as a provocative act and push for more cooperation to deter the possible threat. The US, represented by Christopher Johnstone, the Defense Department’s principal director for East Asia, met with Brig. Gen. Cheol-Kyn Park, the deputy director general of the International Policy Bureau for the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense; and Koji Kano, the principal director of the Defense Policy Bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Defense. The officials said the Aug. 3 launch of a North Korean missile that landed in Japanese waters, among other recent launches, are “provocative acts that represent a flagrant violation of United Nations Security Resolutions and are a serious threat to peace and stability,” according to a Pentagon readout of the teleconference. The countries discussed possible further cooperation to deter the missile threats, following an agreement last month between the US and South Korea to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system on the Korean peninsula. (See also: The Watchers, Armistice Always on the Mind)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.