US, allies discuss N. Korea and S. China sea
TOKYO: The United States, Japan and South Korea on Wednesday reaffirmed their commitment to work together on North Korea’s denuclearisation and other regional threats but made no progress in bringing closer together the two US allies.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who held talks in Tokyo with her counterparts, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and South Korea’s Choi Jong-kun, said their alliance remains a “lynchpin of peace, security and prosperity.”
The officials reaffirmed the importance of respecting international law, including maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight in the
South China Sea, and opposed any unilateral atempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and in the Taiwan Strait.
“When countries take actions that run counter to the United States’ interests or that threaten our partners and allies, we will not let those challenges go unanswered,” Sherman said.
“It is important for the international community to unite and raise its voice against (China’s) unilateral atempts to change the status quo by force, and I hope for cooperation among the three countries,” Mori said.
South Korea’s Choi stayed away from the China issue at a joint news conference on Wednesday and stressed the importance of maintaining dialogue with North Korea.
Choi repeatedly welcomed the significance of holding the trilateral talks and said he hoped hold them regularly for “close communication” among the three countries.
Japan and South Korea have been trying to improve ties since US President Joe Biden took office calling for stronger three-way cooperation in the face of the North Korean nuclear threats and challenges posed by China.
There has been litle improvement. Mori and Choi remained apart on issues dating back to Japan’s colonisation of the Korean Peninsula and atrocities commited before and during World War II, and only agreed to continue talks.
Mori urged South Korea to responsibly resolve issues related to compensation of wartime Korean laborers and sexual abuses of “comfort women” by Japanese soldiers to restore “healthy relations” between the two countries.
Choi repeated his country’s position that the issues would not be solved unless Japan changes its position.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused the US and Japan of “clinging to the Cold War mentality, deliberately engaging in group confrontation and trying to create an anti-china encirclement.”