(LEAD) Finance chiefs of S. Korea, U.S., Japan hold 1st three-way talks

WASHINGTON, The finance chiefs of South Korea, the United States and Japan held their first trilateral talks in Washington on Wednesday as they seek closer-knit cooperation amid deepening economic uncertainties stemming from instability in the Middle East and other global challenges. South Korea's Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki attended the meeting, a follow-up to an agreement from the three countries' landmark trilateral summit at Camp David in Maryland in August. At the summit, President Yoon Suk Yeol, U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reached the agreement to launch the finance ministers' meeting in a series of outcomes aimed at institutionalizing tripartite cooperation on multiple fronts, including security. Choi underscored the need for trilateral cooperation to respond to financial volatility that could result from "uncertainties in the real-sector economy," while noting geopolitical t ensions have become "more complicated and routinized," continuously impacting the world economy. "While (we) have put the foremost priority on the effectiveness of multilateral trade, economic security is becoming another policy goal as we experienced supply chain disruptions amid the pandemic and geoeconomic fragmentation," he said. "Through close dialogue and solidarity among the three countries, we have to strategically respond to supply chain disruptions caused by factors that threaten the stable trade and economic order," he added. Yellen said that the U.S. "deeply values deeply values our close partnerships" with South Korea and Japan. "I see scope to further deepen our cooperation on key shared objectives in the region and globally, such as expanding resilient supply chains, countering economic coercion, and combating sanctions evasion," she said. Wednesday's meeting came after Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles on Israel in response to a suspected Israeli strike on an Iranian diploma tic mission in Syria on April 1 -- a development that cast a shadow over global economic prospects. South Korean policymakers have been keenly watching potential ramifications of the Middle East developments as Asia's fourth-largest economy struggles with a weak won, elevated prices and high interest rates amid expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate cuts could start later than anticipated. Choi came here for the three-way talks, and to attend the gathering of finance ministers and central bank deputies of the Group of 20 nations this week. Source: Yonhap News Agency