India, Japan and the United States on Monday emphasised the need to ensure “freedom of navigation, respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes”. The countries released a statement after a trilateral meeting of their foreign ministers.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met on Monday on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York. They exchanged views on maritime security, connectivity and proliferation matters.
“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 statement read.
This comment seemingly referred to China’s One Belt, One Road project, which includes the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India has reiterated on several occasions that the project did not respect its territorial integrity.
India also deplored North Korea’s latest nuclear missile test. It called for an investigation into “its proliferation linkages” and said those involved “must be held accountable”.
The statement was an apparent reference to alleged links between Pakistan and North Korea. At the United Nations last week, India had claimed that nuclear proliferation activities today have clear “Pakistan fingerprints”, according to NDTV.
“I think I am giving you enough material to try to figure out what we are talking about,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry, told reporters.
On Friday, North Korea had launched another missile that flew over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido and landed 2,200 km away in the Pacific Ocean. According to the US Pacific Command, it was an intermediate-range ballistic missile.