S Korea, US, Japan agree N Korea `stable`
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Last Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 16:03
Seoul: Senior defense officials from South Korea, the United States and Japan met on Tuesday and shared the view that the North Korean regime under new leader Kim Jong Un is stable.

Sources said that the participants from the three countries began a two-day closed-door meeting yesterday on South Korea's southern island of Jeju, aimed at reviewing the situation following the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in mid-December.

South Korea was represented by Lim Kwan Bin, deputy minister for defense policy, the United States by Peter Lavoy, acting assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and Japan by Masanori Nishi, who heads the Japanese Defense Ministry's Defense Policy Bureau.

The sources said the representatives shared the belief that Kim Jong Un is still in the process of expanding his authority in the communist regime, with no unusual signs detected from the North's leadership ranks, Yonhap reported.

The participants also discussed cooperation in international relief operations and agreed to hold trilateral meetings on a regular basis.

"With South Korea and the US scheduled to hold major joint exercises starting late next month, the three countries have agreed to maintain close sharing of information on North Korea to prepare against military provocations," one source was quoted as saying.

South Korea and the United States are scheduled to hold their annual Key Resolve exercise from February 27 to March 9, while a second exercise, the Foal Eagle, will take place from March 1 to April 30.


First Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 16:03

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