South Korea offers Japan, AUS, NZ collective security after North's launch
Seoul: South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol urged the country's three NATO allies in the Asia-Pacific (AP4) to set a collective security arrangement following a new missile launch by North Korea.
Earlier in the day, North Korea launched a ballistic missile, which fell 155 miles off Japan’s Okushiri Island, outside the country’s exclusive economic zone.
"I believe we, the AP4, should band together with NATO to establish a strong collective security posture. We will have to use this as an opportunity to enhance our cooperation framework with NATO and take a leading role in regional security in the Indo-Pacific region," Yoon said at a meeting with the leaders of Australia, Japan and New Zealand on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reportedly concurred with Yoon's initiative and described the North Korean launch is a threat to international peace and stability, while Australia's Anthony Albanese condemned the launch as violating UN resolutions and affirmed Canberra's solidarity with Seoul.
Earlier in the day, Yoon vowed to hold North Korea accountable for its missile launch and convened an emergency session of the National Security Council.
The Wednesday launch was North Korea's first since June 15 and the 12th so far this year. Last year, Pyongyang launched 37 ballistic missiles.
(With UNI inputs)