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S. Korea, U.S., Japan working on missile warning consultation group

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This photo, taken on May 2, 2023, shows Jeon Ha-kyu, the defense ministry's spokesperson, speaking during a regular press briefing at the ministry in Seoul. (Yonhap)
This photo, taken on May 2, 2023, shows Jeon Ha-kyu, the defense ministry’s spokesperson, speaking during a regular press briefing at the ministry in Seoul. [YONHAP]
South Korea, the United States and Japan are working on launching a consultation group for sharing missile warning data in real time, a presidential official said Tuesday.

“The three countries’ military authorities are currently building the system,” the official told reporters. “We will do our best to build the system at an early date.”

The three countries have been in talks over ways to share missile warning data in real time after President Yoon Suk Yeol and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Joe Biden and Fumio Kishida, agreed on the sharing of the data during a trilateral summit in Cambodia last November to counter growing North Korean missile threats.

The Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported earlier that Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo are weighing the option of sharing missile warning data swiftly through a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) system based on a trilateral information-sharing arrangement signed in 2014.

Seoul’s defense ministry said earlier the three countries are still in talks.

“Consultations on concrete details (on how to share data) are ongoing, and at this point, there isn’t anything specific that has been decided,” Jeon Ha-kyu, the ministry’s spokesperson, told a regular press briefing.

The Japanese newspaper said that the three countries are seeking to reach an agreement on the method to share missile warning data during their talks expected to take place on the margins of the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security forum in Singapore, next month.

Currently, the real-time sharing of missile warning data from radars and other assets is under way between the South Korean military and the U.S. Forces Korea, and between the Japan Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Forces Japan.

The reported agreement is expected to enable the three-way sharing of data via the INDOPACOM, as a direct data-sharing linkage between Seoul and Tokyo is currently deemed impossible given they are not treaty allies.

Information collected through this method is expected to enhance the countries’ overall capabilities to detect and track incoming missiles like those from North Korea.

Some observers raised speculation that the agreement if finalized, could lead to the creation of a broad regional missile defense architecture designed to fend off North Korean nuclear and missile threats.

Yonhap