S Korea, US, Japan agree N Korea `stable`

Senior defense officials from South Korea, US and Japan shared the view that the North Korean regime under new leader Kim Jong Un is stable.

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.


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