(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks from South Korean foreign minister in last 3 paras)
By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (Yonhap) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday stressed the importance of trilateral cooperation between South Korea, Japan and the U.S., urging the countries to work together on regional and global issues.
Blinken made the remarks at the top of a three-way meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa in New York.
“The United States, Japan, Korea — we have the most vital bilateral relationships, but we also have this trilateral partnership,” Blinken said at the top of the meeting, held on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
“And I think what we have seen over the years, including in recent months, is that when we are working together, we are even more effective. And we’re more effective not only in dealing with any regional security issues that are before us, but with a whole series of global issues that are front and center here at the United Nations this week,” he added, according to the state department.
The top U.S. diplomat reiterated the trilateral relationship “matters” to the U.S.
“It makes a difference. And I think we can see that in the work that we’re doing together,” he said.
After the meeting, the South Korean foreign minister said the three also underscored the importance of trilateral cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear ambition.
“We discussed the need to be prepared to closely work together and sternly react with regard to North Korea’s threat to use nuclear weapons,” Park told reporters.
North Korea said earlier this month that its parliament legislated a new law that allows Pyongyang to launch an “automatic nuclear strike” when the country is attacked.