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US, Japan reaffirm importance of trilateral cooperation with S.Korea

Washington, Nov 19 (IANS) Senior diplomats of the US and Japan have reaffirmed the importance of cooperation with South Korea, a day after Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori boycotted a joint press conference over what his American counterpart called an unrelated bilateral issue.

Mori and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman also reaffirmed their commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Yonhap News Agency quoted State Department spokesman Ned Price as saying on Thursday.

"The two also discussed the DPRK and our shared commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," he said in a released statement.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

"They also reaffirmed the importance of US-Japan-Republic of Korea trilateral cooperation, which seeks to tackle the global challenges of the 21st century," he added.

Thursday's meeting between Sherman and Mori came one day after they held three-way talks with their South Korean counterpart, Choi Jong-kun.

The trio was originally set to hold a joint press conference following their meeting in Washington, but the event was instead held by Sherman alone.

Choi later explained the Japanese diplomat refused to take part in the joint press event, taking issue with a recent visit by the head of South Korean police to Dokdo, a set of South Korean islets in the East Sea, to which Tokyo lays territorial claims.