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US-Japan to work with South Korea to meet Pyongyang challenge

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani agreed to work closely with South Korea to address the security challenge posed by Pyongyang.

Washington: The US and Japan have agreed to work closely with South Korea to tackle the security challenge posed by North Korea in the wake of the "provocative nuclear test" conducted by the reclusive nation.

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani during a phone call today agreed to work closely with South Korea to address the security challenge posed by Pyongyang, the Pentagon said.

"Both agreed that trilateral cooperation with the Republic of Korea is critical to deterrence and maintaining peace and security in Northeast Asia and beyond," the Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.

During the call, Carter and Nakatani agreed that the nuclear test by North Korea is an unacceptable and irresponsible act that undermines regional security and stability, he said.

"Nakatani stated that the test was a clear violation of the United Nation's Security Council resolutions and condemned the act. Carter agreed with this view and commended the high level of coordination between the United States and Japan after the test," Cook said.

Carter noted that utilising the Alliance Coordination Mechanism under the 2015 Guidelines for US-Japan Defence Cooperation exemplifies this close cooperation, Cook said. The call comes a day after senior defence officials from the three countries held a video tele-conference on the latest challenge posed by North Korea.

The conference was held to share information among the three countries regarding the recent nuclear test conducted by North Korean on January 6.

At this meeting, Japanese Deputy Minister Yoo, the South Korean Deputy Minister of National Defence for Policy; David Shear, the US Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs and Director General Satoshi Maeda, the Japanese Ministry of Defence Director General for Defence Policy represented their respective countries.

"At this meeting, South Korea, US and Japan agreed that North Korea's fourth nuclear test is a provocative act that represents a flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions and a serious threat to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the entire region," said Com Bill Urban, a defence department spokesman.

"The officials reiterated that they do not and will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state and decided to continue to cooperate closely and share information on North Korea's nuclear threat," Urban said.