South Korea: No Discussions on Trilateral Military Exercises

South Korea dismissed a news report that Seoul recently rejected a proposal for combined military exercises between the South, the U.S., and Japan.

“There have not been any discussions at all regarding the possible combined military training among the South, the U.S., and Japan,” the official at Seoul’s defense ministry told reporters on condition of anonymity, adding that the three countries, however, continued to seek security cooperation.

Earlier, a local daily reported that Washington and Tokyo had repeatedly suggested training in waters off the Korean Peninsula during high-level three-way consultations, but the liberal Moon Jae-in administration has rejected this.

On Thursday, President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s spokesperson said the incoming administration would likely seek stronger security cooperation with the United States and Japan but drew the line at trilateral military exercises. 

“Korea-U.S.-Japan combined military exercises are entirely different from Korea-U.S.-Japan security cooperation,” Kim Eun-hye said during a press briefing. 

“I believe the new government will consider ways to practically and effectively realize security cooperation between Korea, the U.S., and Japan,” Kim Eun-hye added.

Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo have recently been seen striving to reinforce trilateral cooperation following Pyongyang’s intercontinental ballistic missile launch last week and earlier provocations. 

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