TOKYO: The United States, Japan and South Korea on Wednesday reaffirmed their commitment to work together on the denuclearization of North Korea and other regional threats, but made no progress in bringing the two U.S. allies closer together.
US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who held talks in Tokyo with her counterparts, Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and South Korea’s Choi Jong-kun, said their alliance remains a “ axis 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 attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea and in the Straits. from Taiwan.
“ When countries take actions that go against the interests of the United States or that threaten our partners and allies, we will not let those challenges go unanswered, ” Sherman said.
The United States and Japan have raised concerns about pressure from China over their claims over disputed areas in the South China Sea and the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which China also claims and calls Diaoyu.
“ It is important for the international community to come together and speak out against (China’s) unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force, and I look forward to cooperating among the three countries, ” Mori said.
Choi of South Korea stayed away from the China issue at Wednesday’s joint press conference, stressing the importance of maintaining dialogue with North Korea.
The worsening of relations between Washington and Beijing has raised concerns in Seoul that it will squeeze between its main security ally and its biggest trading partner.
Choi repeatedly thanked the importance of holding the trilateral talks, saying that he hoped they would take place regularly for “ close communication ” between the three countries.
Japan and South Korea have been trying to improve ties since President Joe Biden took office and called for stronger tripartite cooperation in the face of nuclear threats and North Korean challenges posed by China.
There have been few improvements.
Mori and Choi stayed separate on issues dating back to the Japanese colonization of the Korean Peninsula and the atrocities committed before and during World War II, only agreeing to continue the talks.
Mori urged South Korea to responsibly resolve issues related to wartime Korean workers’ compensation and sexual abuse of ‘comfort women’ by Japanese soldiers to restore ‘healthy relationships’ ‘between the two countries.
Choi repeated his country’s position that the problems would not be solved unless Japan changed its position.
Earlier this week, President Moon Jae-in scrapped a plan to visit Tokyo for the opening of the Olympics on Friday and meet Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.