Gulf Today

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.”

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