India-US-Japan meet: Countries urged to respect international law; Sushma Swaraj deplores North Korea’s actions

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Washington: India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj attended a trilateral meet among India-Japan-US on Monday. Rex Tillerson represented UN and FM Taro Kono was present as the Japanese representative. The meeting focused on maritime security, connectivity and proliferation issues. The trilateral meet is significant amidst China’s growing importance in the region.
Without naming South China Sea conflict, the joint statement emphasizes the need for ensuring freedom of navigation, respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes. India also strongly condemned North Korea’s latest tests and said proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved must be held accountable.
China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Beijing has built up and militarized many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region. China claims sovereignty over all of South China Sea. However, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims.
India and China last month ended a 73-day standoff in Doklam area of the Sikkim sector that was triggered by China’s move to build a road in the border area.
India’s concerns about China’s ambitious OBOR project was also indirectly mentioned in the joint statement with importance of building connectivity based on ‘ universally recognized international norms, prudent financing and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity’ underlined.
Swaraj will also hold bilateral talks with Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay. She will also take part in a meeting, chaired by United States President Donald Trump, to discuss terrorism, on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly. Apart from terrorism, EAM Swaraj will also take up the issues of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, reforms in the UN, climate change, and other peace-keeping issues in the United Nation General Assembly.
Conclusively, Sushma Swaraj will also hold several bilateral meetings and multilateral commitments, apart from speaking at the U.N. general debate on September 23
Here’s the full statement of the meeting:
EAM had a Ministerial Trilateral with US Secretary of State Tillerson and Japanese FM Kono today morning in New York. Views on maritime security, connectivity and proliferation issues were exchanged. The Ministers emphasized the need for ensuring freedom of navigation, respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes. On connectivity initiatives, the importance of basing them on universally recognized international norms, prudent financing and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity was underlined. On DPRK, EAM deplored DPRK’s recent actions and stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved be held accountable. The three Ministers directed their senior officials to explore practical steps to enhance cooperation.

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