(Mainichi: January 6, 2016 Evening edition – p. 7)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed U.S. support for the December agreement on the comfort women issue between Japan and South Korea during his teleconference with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida held in the morning of January 6.
On the “final and irreversible” settlement that Tokyo and Seoul clinched over the comfort women issue, Kerry noted: “We welcome and support the historic agreement. We commend Japan and South Korea for their courage and political decision.”
The teleconference took place at the U.S request and lasted about 20 minutes.
“We are looking forward to deepening our cooperation with Japan and South Korea on regional and global issues,” Kerry said.
Kishida and Kerry also discussed the severance of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran and shared concerns about the deterioration of their bilateral ties. They concurred on the view that “to ensure stability in the Middle East, all concerned parties should practice self-restraint and the current situation should be brought under control through dialogue and be resolved in a peaceful manner.”
After the teleconference, Kishida told reporters that “Japan and the U.S. will work closely to lobby the concerned parties.”
On China’s test flight of a commercial airline over a runway constructed on Fiery Cross Reef, part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, Kishida and Kerry also expressed concern and said: “This will heighten tensions and pose a threat to regional stability.”