Japan, US call for stability in Taiwan Strait

Tokyo, Jul 20 (EFE).- The deputy foreign minister of Japan, Takeo Mori, and his American counterpart Wendy Sherman on Tuesday stressed the need to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait in the face of China’s growing military presence in the area, the Japanese foreign ministry said.

In a statement, the ministry said that the two sides also strongly criticized China’s attempts to “unilaterally change the status-quo” in East China Sea and South China Sea.

The two ministers expressed concern on the human rights situation in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China.

Regarding North Korea, Mori and Sherman insisted that Tokyo and Washington will continue to closely cooperate with South Korea to ensure the “complete denuclearization” of Pyongyang.

On Wednesday Sherman is set to participate in a trilateral meeting in Tokyo with Mori and South Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jung-kun, aimed at boosting cooperation.

Sherman’s East Asia tour is aimed at strengthening communication with regional allies, which had weakened during the previous Donald Trump administration, and sending a message of strength and unity to China.

The US also intends to convey to North Korea that Washington and its allies have kept the door open for dialog.

The visit comes at a time when North Korea is completely focused on managing the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused massive economic damage to the regime, even as ties between Tokyo and Seoul have hit a fresh low.

On Monday Seoul announced that President Moon Jae-in had cancelled his plans to attend the inauguration of the Tokyo Olympics and hold a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on the sidelines, citing “insufficient” understanding between the two sides.

Since 2018, Tokyo has repeatedly protested against judgments by South Korean courts ordering Japanese companies to pay compensations for forcing locals into slave labor during Japan’s colonization of the peninsula (1910-1945).

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