YUKIHIRO SAKAGUCHI, Nikkei staff writer
WASHINGTON — Japanese and South Korean diplomats declined to share a stage at a joint news conference here Wednesday after trilateral talks with the U.S. due to “bilateral differences,” leaving a lone American representative to field questions.
Diplomatic sources from Japan said that “it is not appropriate to have a joint news conference” after South Korea’s head of police visited on Tuesday disputed South Korean-controlled islets, called Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman cited “some bilateral differences” between the two Asian allies of the U.S. “that are continuing to be resolved, unrelated to today’s meeting” as the reason she appeared alone in front of reporters.
Historical grievances between Japan and South Korea resurfaced in September, when a South Korean court ordered assets seized from Japanese industrial group Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to be sold as compensation for women forced to work for the company during World War II.
Sherman and her counterparts, Choi Jong-kun of South Korea and Mori Takeo of Japan, discussed North Korea’s nuclear program and cooperation toward a free and open Indo-Pacific, among other topics.
The three were scheduled to hold a news conference together after the talks.