U.S., Japan highlight need to work with Seoul to denuclearize N. Korea
WASHINGTON-- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and her Japanese counterpart, Takeo Mori, stressed the importance of trilateral cooperation between their countries and South Korea in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, the State Department said Tuesday.
The call for trilateral cooperation comes amid a prolonged tension between the two U.S. allies over history issues.
"The deputy secretary and the vice foreign minister also highlighted the importance of U.S.-Japan-Republic of Korea cooperation to meet the global challenges of the 21st century, including the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, combating COVID-19 and the climate crisis, and ensuring strong supply chains," the State Department said of a meeting between Sherman and Mori in Tokyo, referring to South Korea by its official name.
Sherman is on an eight-day trip to Asia that will later take her to South Korea and Mongolia.
Seoul-Tokyo relations have been at their lowest ebb since 2019 when Japan began taking trade and economic measures that were believed to be aimed at retaliating against Seoul court decisions in favor of South Koreans forced into sexual slavery or forced labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in was earlier expected to visit Japan during the Tokyo Olympic Games, set to start this Friday, for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on ways to improve their countries' relationship.
Moon, however, scrapped his trip after a senior Japanese diplomat in Seoul made disparaging remarks about his efforts to improve ties with Japan.
The Sherman-Mori talks came before a trilateral meeting in Tokyo that will also involve their South Korean counterpart, Choi Jong-kun.
Choi and Mori are also expected to hold bilateral talks before he and Sherman both head to Seoul on Wednesday.
Source: Yonhap News Agency