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WASHINGTON: U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken held separate talks with South Korean and Japanese secretaries of state ahead of his visit to China, stressing the importance of “sustained … trilateral cooperation,” the State Department said Saturday (June 17). ) announced.

The talks came as North Korea stepped up its missile launches over the past year and Tokyo countered increasing pressure from Chinese ships around islands it disputes with Beijing.

In a statement on Saturday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Mr. Blinken had reassured Foreign Minister Park Jin on Friday about the United States’ “resolute determination” to defend South Korea.

“The secretary and foreign ministers should condemn North Korea’s continued illegal ballistic missile launches and encourage China to use its leverage to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy with North Korea,” he said. He pointed out,” he added, using the acronyms of the official names of North Korea and China. .

Brinken on Saturday reiterated his “firm determination” to defend Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and “condemned North Korea’s continuing illegal ballistic missile launches into the Sea of ​​Japan.”

The three countries issued a joint statement on Thursday “condemning” the launch of two short-range ballistic missiles by North Korea, shortly after North Korea warned of an “inevitable” response to ongoing US-South Korea joint military exercises. Blinken meets with Japanese, South Korean officials before visiting China

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