The United States, Japan, and South Korea accorded on Thursday to collaborate together to enforce the United Nations sanctions against North Korea after the latter showed demonstrations of the development of nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The alliance was announced by President Barack Obama after he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye. The U.S. president added that the three countries are uniting efforts to deter and defend against “North Korean provocations”.

North Koreans gathered at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on Monday to celebrate the launch of a satellite-bearing rocket a day earlier. Credit: The Washington Post

The U.N. Security Council imposed harsh sanctions against North Korea on March 2, after the country conducted a fourth nuclear test in January. President Obama said that enforcing the UN measures is important to the entire international community.

Later, the president will meet with President Xi Jinping of China, a very strong ally of North Korean. Analysts suggest that China’s actions could determine the effectiveness of the UN sanctions against the Kim Jong-un’s regime.

For the first time in 15 years, the U.S. releases data on the national inventory of highly enriched uranium

On Thursday, the White House published a statement announcing the declassification and public release of data about the national inventory of highly enriched uranium, which is mainly used to create nuclear weapons.

“This announcement marks the first time in fifteen years that the United States has declassified and released information of this kind. The newly declassified information shows that, from 1996 to 2013, U.S. HEU inventories decreased from 740.7 metric tons to 585.6 metric tons.” Said the White House in a statement.

Of the total amount, 499 metric tons were used for “national security or non-national security programs”, by 2013, including nuclear weapons, naval propulsion, nuclear energy and science, added the White House.

President Obama said in 2010 that the U.S. could improve its own nuclear security and transparency, while encouraging other countries to follow the same actions. The White House explained on Thursday that providing data about metric tons of enriched uranium owned by the U.S., can “increase transparency without revealing sensitive information”.

North Korea has assigned 15.8 percent of its national budget on defense

The Korea Times said on Thursday that the Kim Jong-un’s regime is planning to spend 15.8 percent of its national budget on self-defense. Last year budget to the same segment was 15.9 percent. On January, North Korea conducted nuclear operations that alerted countries all around the world and caused UN sanctions.

State media from North Korea said Thursday that the national budget will increase up to 5.6 percent in 2016. However, the amount of money was not revealed. The Korean Times added that North Korea is planning to adjudicate 4.8 percent of its budget to industries and 4.3 percent in agriculture.

GOP presidential front-runner said that Japan and South Korea should have nuclear weapons

Donald Trump has proposed that Japan and South Korea should have nuclear weapons. His declarations were sharply condemned by the White House, on Thursday, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said to ABC that for 70 years, the U.S. has been committed to “prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional states”.

At the same time, Pyongyang has said that joint military practices between South Korea and the U.S. are creating tension on the peninsula.   

“The US nuclear threat and blackmail, joint military exercises, sanctions and other moves to stifle the DPRK are the root cause of pushing the situation on the peninsula to the brink of a clash of nuclear weapons,” said North Korea’s statement published in the official KCNA news agency, according to Business Standard.

Source: White House