India, Japan, US discuss South China Sea, OBOR; pitch for freedom of navigation, territorial integrity

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New Delhi | September 19, 2017 1:03 PM

The foreign ministers of India, US and Japan have discussed the issue of Chinese actions in the South China Sea and the One Belt One Road project, days after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's trip to India.

India, Japan, US discuss South China Sea, India, Japan, US discuss OBOR, India, Japan, US pitch for freedom of navigation, territorial integrity, India, Japan, US nothe korea, India-US-Japan trilateral foreign ministerial meeting, India-US-Japan trilateral foreign ministerial meeting 2017The MEA statement said the ministers emphasized on “respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes.” (Reuters)

The foreign ministers of India, US and Japan have discussed the issue of Chinese actions in the South China Sea and the One Belt One Road project, days after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s trip to India. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, US Secretary of State Rex W Tillerson and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono also emphasised on the need to ensure freedom of navigation and respect for territorial integrity, according to a statement of Ministry of External Affairs. The three leaders met in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly under the rubric of India-US-Japan trilateral foreign ministerial meeting, according to Indian Express.

Interestingly, the MEA statement said the ministers emphasized on “respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes.” These are exactly the same phrases used in India’s joint statements with the US in June and with Japan last week. In reference to India’s reservations on One Belt One Road project, the MEA said: “On connectivity initiatives, the importance of basing them on universally recognised international norms, prudent financing and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity was underlined”. The MEA statement also used the same terms in India’s official statement while boycotting Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative meeting in Beijing in May, as per the Indian Express.

The ministry said India has, in the past, pointed to links between Pakistan and Chinese nuclear programmes and the North Korean programme. “Sushma Swaraj, deplored DPRK’s recent actions and stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved be held accountable”, obliquely referring to Pakistan and China,” it reads. On these issues, the three ministers will direct their senior officials to explore practical steps to enhance cooperation. The foreign secretaries and the joint secretaries will have conversations and dialogue to make way forward. Swaraj will address the annual session of the UN General Assembly on September 23, as per IE.

Swaraj is expected to hold more than a dozen bilateral and trilateral meetings with leaders attending the session. Swaraj will also participate in a high-level meeting on UN reforms, hosted and chaired by US President Donald Trump. India is among the 120 countries which have supported the reform efforts of the UN Secretary-General, the report said.

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