There have been unclear issues between South Korea and North Korea. Despite the recent tensions between the two Asian allies, the U.S., Japan, and South Korea, are sending a clear message with their policy cooperation against North Korea.
“That close coordination sends a very critical message to North Korea in that we are together and shoulder-to-shoulder in our approach to this policy,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told reporters after meeting with Japan and South Korea’s vice foreign ministers.
The three-way discussions were held in Tokyo amid strained ties between Japan and South Korea, which stemmed primarily from recriminations on both sides of Japan’s colonial authority over Korea from 1910 to 1945.
A new chapter in the ancient rivalry erupted in 2019. It threatened to disrupt the neighbours’ security cooperation in the face of a common threat from North Korea and its nuclear and missile programs.
Moon Jae-in of South Korea recently chose not to attend the Tokyo Olympics, which begins on Friday, for what would have been his first meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
Takeo Mori, Japan’s vice foreign minister, stated that trilateral cooperation with the U.S. is critical for North Korean disarmament.
“North Korea’s next move is unpredictable,” Mori said.
Since U.S. President Joe Biden took over from Donald Trump, who had three summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, boosting hopes for a breakthrough, North Korea has spurned U.S. diplomatic efforts.
Little tangible progress was made since Kim refused to give up his nuclear weapons but agreed to a moratorium on testing them.
South Korea’s vice foreign minister, Choi Jung Kun, described the North Korean nuclear problem as a “long game” that required patience.
Sherman stated that the U.S. was “ready to engage with North Korea, and they know that”
“We hope they will respond positively, but as my colleagues have said, we must exercise some patience, perhaps not too much, but some,” Sherman said.
Sherman did not explicitly address the recent tensions between Japan and South Korea, but he did state that the U.S. had “no greater friends” in the area than those two countries.
Senior Japanese and South Korean officials emphasized their nations’ commitment to continuing discussion to settle remaining concerns.
According to Choi, South Korea was “deeply impressed” by Japan’s efforts to hold the Olympics during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Choi stated that he, Sherman, and Mori had agreed to meet regularly.