Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono at the US Department of State in Washington D.C., United States on Mar 16, 2018. (Xinhua/Ting Shen)
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan on Friday met separately with South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers to coordinate stances in preparation for the upcoming Trump-Kim meeting.
The meeting on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula between U.S. President Donald Trump and the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong Un, is expected in May with its site yet unclear.
According to statements by State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, Friday's bilateral meetings with the two U.S. Asian allies of South Korea and Japan stressed the importance of their bilateral alliances and continuing the maximum pressure campaign against Pyongyang.
Sullivan and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha agreed in their meeting that the U.S.-South Korea alliance is the "lynchpin" of regional stability and security, particularly in light of the DPRK's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
In his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Sullivan and Kono reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance, vowing to maintain maximum pressure on Pyongyang.
Regarding the latest U.S. sanctions intended to step up pressure, the DPRK's official Minju Joson daily on Wednesday accused the United States of trying to reverse the existing detente on the Korean Peninsula.
It said in a commentary that the U.S. decision to impose new sanctions illustrates an intention to "bring back the situation to a phase of tension by escalating the sanctions and pressure."
Signs of a thaw on the peninsula emerged earlier this year since working-level talks between the two Koreas were held at the truce village of Panmunjom and the DPRK participated in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. In addition, the two Koreas agreed to hold the third inter-Korean summit in late April.
China has said it welcomes the Trump-Kim meeting, deeming it as a step in the right direction for resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, and that it fully commends and supports the efforts made by the parties concerned to solve the issue through dialogue and consultation.