On the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid, President Joe Biden spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol. While the summit’s focus is on Moscow, Washington is taking advantage of the gathering of world leaders to strengthen its military posture against Pyongyang.
Biden said the Madrid conference was an “opportunity to further coordinate our trilateral efforts, specifically with regard to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
In the leadup to the meeting between the leaders in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, Pyongyang claimed the US was attempting to create an “Asian version of NATO” to further its “sinister aim” towards North Korea.
President Biden stated the objective of the trilateral group is the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” North Korea has a nuclear arsenal of about 40-50 bombs. Pyongyang maintains a diluted “no-first-use” policy and claims its nukes protect it from Washington-based regime change operations.
South Korea houses nearly 30,000 American soldiers that ensure the US would fight to prevent an invasion and places Seoul under Washington’s nuclear umbrella. The North Korean government, led by the Kim family, maintains Pyongyang will not abandon its nuclear weapons until the US abandons its aggressive posture.
All three leaders said they were concerned with North Korea’s increased weapons tests in 2022, warning Pyongyang would soon conduct its seventh nuclear test. North Korea has already tested a record number of missiles in 2022.
Prime Minister Kishida noted the trilateral meeting provided a much-needed forum to discuss upgrading defense ties. “The deterrence capabilities of the Japan-US and US-ROK alliances need to be upgraded as part of the essential effort to strengthen the trilateral partnership between Japan, the US, and ROK,” the Japanese leader said.