Japan, U.S., S. Korea Fail to Jointly Meet Press


Washington, Nov. 17 (Jiji Press)--Senior diplomats from Japan, the United States and South Korea failed to jointly meet the press after a three-way meeting in Washington Wednesday after Tokyo declined to hold a joint news conference due to a territorial dispute with Seoul.

Japan's refusal came after South Korea's police chief landed Tuesday on Sea of Japan islands effectively controlled by Seoul and claimed by Tokyo. The disputed islands are called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.

At a press conference in Tokyo, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the landing is totally unacceptable given the country's position. "We judged it inappropriate to hold a joint press conference while strongly protesting to the South Korean side," Matsuno said.

The three-way press conference was abruptly changed to a solo news briefing by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. The dispute between Japan and South Korea overshadowed the effort of the three countries to highlight their close cooperation on North Korea issues.

"There are some bilateral differences between Japan and the Republic of Korea that are continuing to be resolved, and one of those differences which is unrelated to today's meeting has led to the change in format for today's press availability," Sherman said.

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