Japan, U.S., S. Korea to curb N. Korean nuclear, missile development

Japan, the United States and South Korea agreed Saturday to cooperate in curbing North Korea's nuclear and missile development, as well as its provocative actions.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan Jin shared the view North Korea's de-facto long-range missile test in December and its third nuclear test in February pose a "serious threat" to security in Northeast Asia and the world, the three ministers said in a joint statement issued after a meeting in Singapore.

The ministers demanded North Korea comply with obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions such as abandonment of its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, the statement said.

"We agreed to act together (against North Korea) and promote defense cooperation" among the three countries, Onodera said after the meeting.

It was the first gathering of the three ministers since North Korea conveyed to Chinese President Xi Jinping on May 24 its readiness to rejoin the six-party denuclearization talks, raising hope for an easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula that had escalated after the missile launch, the nuclear test and war-like rhetoric against South Korea and the United States.