U.S. willing to hold 3-way talks with Japan, S Korea next week

A senior U.S. official on Friday expressed willingness to hold a trilateral foreign ministerial meeting with Japan and South Korea on the margins of Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related foreign ministerial meetings next week in Bangkok.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha are set to gather in the Thai capital as Tokyo-Seoul ties have fallen to their lowest point in years due to disputes over wartime history and trade policy.
"I think any time we have the U.S., the ROK and Japan in the same place, there's going to be a desire to get together," the senior State Department official told reporters, signaling possible U.S. intervention in helping improve relations between the two U.S. allies.
The ROK is the acronym of South Korea's formal name, the Republic of Korea.
The official said President Donald Trump's administration is "concerned" about heightened tensions between Japan and South Korea, and suggested Washington would assist the two allies in defusing tensions.
The administration is "looking for ways to incentivize both to address those in a productive way that benefits both sides," the official told reporters, requesting anonymity.
The official expressed hope that Japan and South Korea will find "areas of overlapping interest."
Pompeo is scheduled to attend a foreign ministerial meeting of the United States and the 10-nation ASEAN next Thursday and the ASEAN Regional Forum, a 27-member regional security forum, on Aug. 2 at which North Korea and the South China Sea are likely to be a major focus.

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