U.S. Deputy SOS Left Alone After Japan, South Korea Refuse to Share Stage With Each Other

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman speaks at the State Department in Washington, Aug. 18, 2021. A U.S.-sponsored show of alliance with Japan and South Korea stumbled Wednesday, Nov. 17, when American diplomats couldn't convince their Asian allies to share a news conference stage.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman was left alone at a news conference that was supposed to be a show of an alliance with Japan and South Korea after the nations refused to share a stage.

Sherman took questions from reporters from those countries alone. According to The Associated Press, she said there were “some bilateral differences” between the two Asian allies “that are continuing to be resolved unrelated to today’s meeting.”

Sherman did not specifically say what stopped the joint press conference from occurring, Reuters reported. A spokesperson from the State Department refused to give details.

On Wednesday, Sherman said she talked with South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong Kun and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori in a three-hour meeting. After the meeting, Sherman told reporters the talks were “constructive (and) substantive.”

Discussions about the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, the three nations’ commitment to progressing democratic values and human rights, and emphasizing their commitment to keeping an inclusive, free, peaceful, stable, and open Indo-Pacific region were had, Sherman said.

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