Japan, S.Korea skip joint news conference

Japan, United States and South Korea have confirmed they are working closely together on global issues, including North Korea's nuclear and missile development. But a planned joint news conference was canceled due to a territorial dispute between Japan and South Korea.

Japan's Vice Foreign Minister Mori Takeo, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and South Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun met in Washington on Wednesday.

Sherman told reporters after the trilateral meeting that there are some "bilateral differences" between Japan and South Korea.

The head of South Korea's national police, Kim Chang-yong, landed on the Takeshima Islands in Shimane Prefecture, Japan, on Tuesday.

South Korea controls the islands. Japan claims them. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says South Korea is illegally occupying them.

Japanese foreign ministry sources say it would have been inappropriate for the vice foreign minister to take part in a joint news conference.

The sources said Mori met separately with Choi and lodged a protest saying his country could not tolerate the visit.

South Korean foreign ministry sources said Choi explained that his country could not accept any of Japan's claims.

The chilled bilateral ties have cast a shadow over the close cooperation between the three countries sought by the US.