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US, Japan, South Korea Meet in Hawaii to Discuss North Korea, Ukraine

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This Feb. 11, 2022, photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows the Korean Children's Union of the Central Committee of the Socialist Patriotic Youth League performing to mark the 80th birthday of former leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang.

The top diplomats of the U.S., Japan and South Korea met Saturday in Hawaii.

The meeting of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung Eui-yong was held to discuss the countries’ shared concerns.

“Underscoring the importance of trilateral cooperation as we navigate an increasingly complicated world, the Secretary and Foreign Ministers committed to expand cooperation and collaboration across a range of regional and global security and economic priorities,” the diplomats said in a joint statement issued after the meeting.

Among the priorities is the presence of thousands of Russian military forces along Ukraine’s border and the diplomats’ “shared unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement said, and “committed to work closely together to deter further Russian escalation.”

Another concern is North Korea and its nuclear program. The diplomats “condemned” North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches and “expressed deep concern about the destabilizing nature of these actions.”

The secretary and the foreign ministers said, in the statement, that they are “committed to close trilateral cooperation to achieve complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

The meeting was the last stop on Blinken’s Asian tour, which included stops in Australia for a meeting of the Quad nations – Australia, India, Japan and the United States, and Fiji, where he held a virtual meeting with Pacific nation leaders.

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