Seoul, Washington, Tokyo begin real-time sharing of North Korean missile data

     South Korea, the United States and Japan announced Tuesday the launch of a system to share information on North Korean missiles in real time and a plan to carry out trilateral military exercises on a regular basis to confront to North Korea’s weapons advances.

    “The North Korean missile warning information real-time sharing system has been verified (…), and is currently operating normally,” the South Korean Defense Ministry said a statement.

    The countries’ leaders, Yoon Suk-yeol, Joe Biden and Fumio Kishida, agreed to put this platform into operation at a trilateral summit held at Camp David in August, in what was a new step to strengthen security coordination between Washington, Seoul and Tokyo.

    The US had already been separately exchanging information with its allies in the Asian region, but until now there had been no direct data link between the three nations due to ongoing disputes between Japan and South Korea regarding Japanese colonization of the Korean Peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

    With this initiative, trilateral cooperation will be regularized and carried out in a more systematic and efficient manner, said the parties, who have also established a multi-year plan to carry out trilateral military exercises starting in 2024, in another step to reinforce deterrence against Pyongyang’s weapons tests.

    The launch of the cross-information system takes place a day after North Korea’s launch of a long-range ballistic missile, its fifth this year, a record number that underlines the progress of its weapons program and the military escalation in the region.

    The North Korean regime said Tuesday that it had launched a solid-fuel Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile and said that leader Kim Jong-un observed the “warning” launch on the spot.

    Seoul, Washington and Tokyo reiterated Tuesday that they will continue to strengthen their cooperation to respond to regional challenges and ensure security in the Indo-Pacific region.

    After the failure of denuclearization negotiations with the US in 2019, North Korea approved a weapons modernization plan (which includes deploying military satellites and has involved the testing of numerous missiles), in addition to rejecting the restart of dialogue and seeking a greater rapprochement with China and Russia.

    In turn, South Korea, Japan and the US have strengthened their security cooperation and Washington has increased the periodic deployment of strategic assets on the peninsula

    By Nadeem Faisal Baiga