Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo (left) holds hands with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis (center) and Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera during a Korea-U.S.-Japan defense ministers’ meeting in Singapore on June 3. (Ministry of National Defense)

By Kim Hyelin and Sohn JiAe 

At the top of the agenda at the 17th Asia Security Summit, known as the “Shangri-La Dialogue” in Singapore where a historic U.S.-North Korea summit is to take place in just 10 days, was denuclearization in Pyeongyang.

On the sidelines of the security summit, Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera held a trilateral meeting on June 4 and vowed to join forces to achieve a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the North (CVID). They also agreed to continue to carry out all U.N. Security Council resolutions concerning North Korea.

The three ministers issued a joint press statement that said, “We hope that the upcoming Washington-Pyeongyang summit will contribute to comprehensively resolving security and humanitarian issues in the North for the sake of peace and stability on the peninsula and the region.”

“To this end, we will enhance our trilateral cooperation on security,” the statement said.

The ministers also welcomed the outcome of the two historic inter-Korean summits, including the Panmunjeom Declaration aiming at peninsular peace, prosperity and unification. This positive change that has followed the two summits has been making productive conditions for the U.S.-North Korea summit, they agreed.

They also welcomed the North’s latest call to change its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programs and, also, the dismantling of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

On June 2, prior to the trilateral meeting, Minister Song had a one-on-one meeting with Secretary Mattis to talk about ways to strengthen the Korea-U.S. alliance on security issues, which led to a joint press statement.