(LEAD) Senior diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. and Japan meet in Tokyo on N. Korea, global issues

송상호 / 2021-07-21 10:39:08
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(LEAD) S Korea-US-Japan talks
▲ First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun (L) and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Wendy Sherman (R) and Takeo Mori, respectively, pose for a photo before their trilateral meeting at the Iikura Guesthouse in Tokyo on July 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

▲ First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun (L) and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman pose for a photo in Washington on June 10, 2021, as they meet for talks, in this photo provided by the foreign ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

(LEAD) S Korea-US-Japan talks

(LEAD) Senior diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. and Japan meet in Tokyo on N. Korea, global issues

(ATTN: RECASTS throughout; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- Senior diplomats of South Korea, the United States and Japan held trilateral talks in Tokyo on Wednesday to discuss North Korea's nuclear program, and other regional and global issues, officials said.

The meeting among First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Wendy Sherman and Takeo Mori, respectively, came amid a U.S. push to reinforce cooperation with the Asian allies against an assertive China in the midst of persistent historical enmity between Seoul and Tokyo.

The three were expected to discuss efforts to resume nuclear diplomacy with Pyongyang and tackle the COVID-19 scourge, climate change and other global challenges, and address supply chain vulnerabilities laid bare amid the pandemic.

Their gathering could set the stage for Washington's engagement to foster reconciliation between Seoul and Tokyo, caught in a protracted row over Japan's wartime forced labor and sexual slavery, and its export curbs. Japan occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945.

To address these thorny issues, Seoul had sought to arrange a summit between President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on the occasion of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. That effort fell through, as they failed to narrow differences on the issues.

The three-way talks came as Sino-U.S. geopolitical tensions remain high, with Washington rebuking Beijing's policies on Hong Kong, the Xinjiang region and the South China Sea, and highlighting its backing of Taiwan against China's assertiveness.

Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have held eight such rounds of three-way vice ministerial talks, including this week's session, since the inaugural gathering in April 2015. The previous session took place in Seoul in October 2017.

Choi and Sherman plan to hold strategic dialogue in Seoul on Friday to discuss bilateral relations, Korean Peninsula issues, and regional and global issues, Seoul officials said.

(END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved

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