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US House passes resolution on S. Korea, Japan relations

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution stressing the importance of US alliances with South Korea and Japan.

The resolution, led by Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, came as trade and historical disputes between South Korea and Japan have threatened to undermine trilateral cooperation with the US.

Engel also sent a letter to US President Donald Trump last week urging him to address the escalating tensions.

The resolution expresses "the sense of the House of Representatives on the importance and vitality of the United States alliances with Japan and the Republic of Korea, and (the three countries') trilateral cooperation in the pursuit of shared interests."

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (AP)
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (AP)

It also describes the US alliances with South Korea and Japan as "the foundation of regional stability in Asia, including against the threat posed by the regime in Pyongyang."

Tensions between Seoul and Tokyo have escalated since Japan adopted export controls against South Korea in July in apparent retaliation for a South Korean court ruling against Japan's use of forced labor during its 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Last month, South Korea informed Japan of its decision not to renew a military intelligence-sharing pact despite opposition from the US, which regarded it as a symbolic platform for three-way security cooperation against North Korea's nuclear threats and China's military rise.

In the resolution, the House of Representatives reaffirms the importance of "a constructive and forward-looking relationship" between South Korea and Japan for US diplomatic, economic and security interests.

It calls for "developing and implementing a strategy to deepen the trilateral diplomatic and security cooperation" between the three countries, including through diplomacy, cultural exchanges and defense-related initiatives.

It also calls for trilateral cooperation with the UN Security Council and other UN member states to "fully and effectively" enforce sanctions against North Korea and evaluate "meaningful" new measures toward the regime. (Yonhap)

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