Foreign media reported on October 27 that U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel emphasized at a regular press conference, that Seoul and Tokyo were the most important allies and partners of Washington in East Asia when asked about the results of Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman’s attending vice foreign ministers meetings of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan and the United States.
The ROK-U.S.-Japan Vice Foreign Ministers Consultation in Tokyo on Oct 26th was the second trilateral meeting of senior diplomatic officials four months after a news conference in Seoul this June. The U.S. Department of State said the consultation mainly focused on the North Korean issue. Patel said Deputy Secretary Sherman’s opportunity to meet with his counterparts in Japan and South Korea would reaffirm the bilateral ties between the two allies and the importance of the trilateral relationship, which is necessary to enhance peace, security, and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, Sherman’s visit also confirmed Washington’s commitment to mobilize a comprehensive military force, including nuclear, conventional, and missile defense units, in Seoul’s efforts to contain Pyongyang’s nuclear expansion. After the talks, ROK’s First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong said the three countries agreed that if North Korea eventually conducted a seventh nuclear test, they would respond with unprecedentedly strong actions.