U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday voiced support for the idea that United States Steel Corp. should "remain in American hands," a stance taken by President Joe Biden against Nippon Steel Corp.'s proposed acquisition of the company.

"I certainly accept the president's view, which he has stated that the company should remain in American hands. He hasn't said specifically that it's an issue of national security, but one that has to do with the good of the workers in the country," she said during a press conference in Washington.

Janet Yellen. (Getty/Kyodo)

Yellen's remarks came when asked whether the U.S. steelmaker should remain domestically owned. She did not elaborate further, adding only that any potential investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, also known as CFIUS, should be confidential.

CFIUS is in charge of examining certain foreign investment transactions in U.S. firms and determining whether they pose national security threats.

U.S. Steel shareholders last week overwhelmingly approved the Japanese company's takeover plan.

But unionized workers, backed by Biden, are against the plan.

"U.S. Steel has been an iconic American steel company for more than a century, and it is vital for it to remain an American steel company that is domestically owned and operated," Biden said in a statement in mid-March.

U.S. Steel, founded in 1901, is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a key battleground state in the Nov. 5 presidential election. The planned merger has increasingly become a political issue as Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump campaign to return to the White House.

At the press conference, Yellen also said the finance ministers of the United States, Japan and South Korea will hold a trilateral meeting for the first time this week to discuss "sanctions" and various other issues, without mentioning which country is targeted.

The meeting is due to take place on Wednesday in Washington on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings, according to officials.

Yellen said she will coordinate with her Japanese and South Korean counterparts "on issues from sanctions to climate and financial resilience in the Pacific Islands."

The sanctions could be related to Russia, which continues with its war against Ukraine, North Korea, which relentlessly pursues its nuclear ambitions, or Iran, which launched an unprecedented attack on Israel over the weekend.

The first-ever meeting is part of the three countries' efforts to boost cooperation on areas beyond traditional security affairs concerning North Korea following a three-way summit Biden organized last August with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

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