Swaraj condemns North Korea in India-Japan-US trilateral meet
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in New York. The trilateral India-Japan-US meeting took place on the sidelines of the ongoing UN General Assembly session. The three leaders discussed maritime security, connectivity, and proliferation issues. They appeared to express concern over China's growing assertiveness and denounced North Korea's nuclear threat.
In a statement, India's External Affairs Ministry (EAM) said: "The Ministers emphasized the need for ensuring freedom of navigation, respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes." This could be a reference to Beijing's role in perpetrating the South China Sea and the East China Sea disputes. America and Japan, both allies, have increasingly tried to counter China's regional territorial expansionist policy.
The EAM statement said: "On connectivity initiatives, the importance of basing them on universally recognized international norms, prudent financing, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity was underlined." This echoes India's own concerned stance on China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.
Swaraj deplored North Korea's recently conducted sixth and most powerful nuclear test and its ballistic missile launches. The statement said the North's nuclear "proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved be held accountable." India has long contended that the North Korean nuclear weapons program is based on Pakistani assistance. The three leaders said they would boost cooperation against North Korea.