SINGAPORE -- Top defense officials from the U.S., Japan and Australia on Saturday agreed to coordinate on the denuclearization of North Korea, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said his once-canceled June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un is back on.
While convening in Singapore, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne were also expected to agree to continue monitoring North Korea's covert attempts to import oil and other goods by ship-to-ship transfers at sea.
They were expected to exchange views on China's militarization of the South China Sea as well.
At the outset of the meeting, Onodera told his counterparts that he wants the three countries to work together to achieve the "complete abolition of all weapons of mass destruction and all ballistic missiles held by North Korea in a verifiable and irreversible manner."
Earlier, Onodera met with U.K. Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, followed by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen. He asked them for cooperation in maintaining pressure on North Korea until the country takes concrete action, despite Pyongyang's apparent change in tone.
Onodera also stressed the importance of addressing the North's past abductions of Japanese nationals -- a long-standing sore point for Japan.