Military chiefs of S. Korea, U.S., Japan to meet in Hawaii April

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Top uniformed officers of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan are likely to gather in Hawaii later this month to discuss regional security circumstances and ways to boost trilateral ties, officials said Tuesday.

The three nations were arranging a meeting between Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on the occasion of the upcoming change-of-command ceremony of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, according to the officials.

Those expected to attend the meeting are Chairman Gen. Won In-choul and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Gen. Mark Milley, and Gen. Koji Yamazaki.

The ceremony is likely to take place later this month, as Adm. Phil Davidson will be replaced by Adm. John Aquilino, who currently serves as the commander of the Pacific Fleet.

“The meeting would be a venue to discuss North Korea and security circumstances in the region, and explore ways to boost exchanges and cooperation against shared threats,’’ an official said.

Such three-way face-to-face talks were last held in October 2019, and the three sides held a teleconference in November last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The planned meeting comes as the U.S. was working to boost its ties with allies and partner nations to better deal with a provocative North Korea and an assertive China.