The defense chiefs of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan held talks on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday and discussed North Korea.
In the first such trilateral gathering in about a year, defense minister Lee Jong-sup and his American and Japanese counterparts Lloyd Austin and Yasukazu Hamada further fleshed out details on sharing real-time warning information on North Korean missiles, an issue that has been continuously discussed between the allies.
Currently, South Korea and the U.S. and the U.S. and Japan share such information bilaterally but Seoul and Tokyo share their information with each other through the Pentagon.
The three sides also discussed expanding joint military drills to step up security cooperation and North Korea's launch of a space vehicle carried out earlier this week.
After the talks, Lee told reporters that the three sides agreed to connect their respective missile warning data sharing systems so it could be operational within the year. Lee said they also reached a consensus on various other issues, calling the meeting productive.
Before the three-way talks, Lee and Austin also had an unscheduled, brief "pull-aside" conversation.
Hosted by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Shangri-La Dialogue launched in 2002 is a multilateral annual security forum held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore. This year, some 600 guests from 40 countries including defense ministers, top officials and security experts are attending.