The United States, Japan and South Korea aim to share North Korean missile warning data before the end of 2023, the three countries said in a statement following a Saturday meeting of their defence chiefs in Singapore.
The announcement followed a North Korean attempt to launch a spy satellite that ended with it crashing into the sea after a rocket failure earlier in the week, the latest in a string of banned tests conducted by Pyongyang.
The three sides "recognised trilateral efforts to activate a data sharing mechanism to exchange real-time missile warning data before the end of the year in order to improve each country's ability to detect and assess missiles launched" by North Korea, their joint statement said.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Japanese and South Korean counterparts Yasukazu Hamada and Lee Jong-sup met on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue defence summit.
They "discussed the growing nuclear and missile threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as well as efforts to enhance trilateral security exercises and address common security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region", the statement said.
South Korea's defence ministry said in a separate statement that they "committed to making further progress in the coming months towards the activation of a real-time sharing mechanism for missile warning information."
Hamada told a news conference the initiative "will improve the ability of countries to detect and assess the threat of missiles launched by North Korea, and we will work firmly to achieve this as soon as possible."
A senior US defence official said ahead of the announcement that the planned data sharing is ultimately about "strengthening trilateral cooperation, which we believe is in all three of our countries' interests, which we believe strengthens deterrence, and which we believe also institutionalises this cooperation." (AFP)