New York – Top diplomats from Japan, the United States and South Korea said on Thursday they oppose any attempt to change the status quo of territories by force amid China’s growing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region, while demonstrating their determination to react decisively to a nuclear test by North Korea.
The meeting of Secretary of State Yoshimasa Hayashi, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin took place in New York on the sidelines of the annual session of the UN General Assembly. It came out of concern that North Korea could conduct its first nuclear test in years.
The three condemned North Korea’s numerous ballistic missile launches earlier this year and reaffirmed that if the country carried out what would be its seventh nuclear test, it would receive a “strong and resolute response from the international community.”
They also expressed “serious concern” about what they believe to be Pyongyang’s “escalating and destabilizing” messages regarding the use of nuclear weapons, according to a joint statement issued after the meeting, citing the recent approval of a new law by North Korea’s highest legislature prohibiting the launch of preemptive nuclear strikes.
The Japanese government said in a separate press release that the three countries will advance their three-way security cooperation by strengthening the deterrent capabilities of the US-Japan and US-South Korea alliances.
The meeting also underlined the broadening of the countries’ trilateral cooperation outside North Korea, with Blinken saying at the beginning of the talks that the three-way ties are important for the United States to effectively address both regional security issues and global challenges.
The three reaffirmed their shared commitment to supporting the needs of island nations in the Pacific, a region in which China is expanding its influence, as well as improving access to climate finance and efforts to improve maritime security and combat illegal fishing, the three said. joint statement.
They also condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine and stressed that they will “oppose any attempt to change the status quo of territories and territories by force or coercion anywhere in the world”.
The confirmation came amid fears that Taiwan could become the “next Ukraine”, with China stepping up its military and diplomatic pressure on the self-governed democratic island.
China and Taiwan have been governed separately since they split in 1949 due to a civil war. China considers Taiwan a renegade province awaiting reunification, if necessary by force.
Tensions between the US and China over Taiwan have escalated after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island in early August, during which Beijing conducted large-scale military exercises nearby.
The previous ministerial meeting of the foreign ministers of Japan, the US and South Korea took place in Indonesia in July.
The three-way dialogue appears to be on track, with a trilateral summit to be held in June for the first time in about five years.
Tokyo and Seoul, meanwhile, are on track to improve their bilateral relations, which have been marred by war histories and other disputes.
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