U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates reaffirmed in Singapore on Saturday that the United States, Japan and South Korea, along with some other countries, will strengthen cooperation to try to resolve the Korean peninsula nuclear issue.
Speaking at a joint press briefing on the sidelines of the 8th Asia Security Summit, Gates said that the United States' policy has not changed. Washington's goal is complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and will not accept the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a nuclear weapon state.
Gates said that the DPRK's programs and actions constitute a threat to regional peace and security.
"We unequivocally reaffirm our commitment to the defense of our allies in the region. The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by the DPRK to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States and our allies. And we would hold the DPRK fully accountable for the consequences of such action," Gates said.
On the same occasion, Japan's Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada and South Korea's Minister of National Defense Lee Sang Hee stressed the significance of the trilateral meeting, saying that the three parties will further exchange views and enhance cooperation to solve the problem.
The annual Asia Security Summit, organized by the London International Institute for Strategic Studies, is being held in Singapore from May 29 to 31.
The forum brings together about 22 ministerial-level guests, along with parliamentarians, military leaders and security experts from more than 27 countries and regions for discussions on regional security issues and defense cooperation.
(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2009)