U.S. Envoys to Korea, China, Japan Meet in Seoul

The U.S. ambassadors to Korea, China and Japan met in Seoul on Monday to discuss the latest regional issues. A Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday that the U.S. ambassadors to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, and China, Gary Locke, met with Sung Kim here.

"It was an internal event at the U.S. Embassy, so we were not informed ahead of time of the purpose of the meeting," the official claimed.

From left, Sung Kim, Gary Locke and Caroline Kennedy From left, Sung Kim, Gary Locke and Caroline Kennedy

The U.S. ambassadors have held regular meetings since Ambassador Alexander Vershbow's tenure in the mid-2000s, sometimes announced but usually behind closed doors.

The U.S. Embassy apparently decided not to announce the latest meeting given chilled relations between Japan and its neighbors following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit late last year to the militarist Yasukuni Shrine.

Regional tensions have heightened since November last year after China unilaterally announced a new air defense identification zone, prompting Washington to dispatch Vice President Joe Biden to tour the three Asian countries and discuss ways to ease diplomatic friction. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Daniel Russel, an assistant secretary of state, later made similar trips.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 29, 2014 10:32 KST