Senior diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. hold talks in Bangkok
WASHINGTON/SEOUL-- Senior diplomats of South Korea and the United States have held talks in Thailand over the bilateral alliance and trilateral cooperation with Japan, their ministries said on Sunday.
Yoon Soon-gu, deputy minister for political affairs at Seoul's foreign ministry, met with David Stilwell, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit on Saturday.
On the ongoing row between Seoul and Tokyo over history and trade, Yoon called for Washington to play a possible role to ease the tensions, and the two sides agreed to work together toward that direction.
The bilateral ties between the two Asian neighbors have deteriorated since Tokyo's imposition of tougher export controls on goods vital to the Korean tech industry in July, in apparent retaliation for South Korean court rulings against Japanese companies over wartime forced labor.
That followed Tokyo's August decision of delisting South Korea from its list of trusted trade partners and Seoul announcing that it would withdraw from a bilateral pact with Tokyo on sharing military information. The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) is set to expire on Nov. 22.
During the talks, the two sides reaffirmed the strong alliance between Seoul and Washington, and agreed to maintain close coordination to ensure the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.
They also committed to cooperating across the U.S.' Indo-Pacific strategy and Korea's New Southern Policy based on their shared values and commitment to the principles or openness, inclusiveness, transparency, respect for international law and the centrality of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), they said.
Stilwell is set to visit South Korea this week for talks with Seoul officials as part of his Asia trip. He is expected to discuss with Seoul officials various pending issues, including Washington's efforts to help reduce the tensions with Tokyo and ongoing negotiations between the allies over the sharing of the cost for stationing American soldiers here.
Source: Yonhap News Agency