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U.S. lawmakers tout U.S.-Japan-South Korea alliance as Seoul, Tokyo feud

FILE PHOTO: House Foreign Relations Committee Democratic Ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks with reporters after a closed intelligence briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel on the death of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 12, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republicans and Democrats joined together on Tuesday to tout the long alliance between Japan, South Korea and the United States, hoping to reinforce the trilateral relationship amid an intensifying feud between Tokyo and Seoul.

Members of the House of Representatives and Senate from both parties introduced resolutions in the two chambers affirming Congress’ strong support for ties between the three countries and the critical importance of cooperation.

Relations between Japan and South Korea have chilled recently due to disputes over their wartime history, including Japan’s 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean peninsula, as well as allegations of provocations by each country’s military.

The dispute threatens regional efforts to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program, just weeks before U.S. President Donald Trump is to hold a second summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam on Feb. 27-28.

“With so much at stake ... it is critical that we maintain a responsible path forward,” Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and a co-sponsor of the measure, said in a statement.

The measures were introduced by Engel and Representative Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as top Senate Foreign Relations Democrat Bob Menendez and the leaders from both parties of the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Asia subcommittees.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Sandra Maler