China, S. Korea, Japan leaders to meet

  • China
  • Wednesday, 27 Sep 2023

BEIJING said yesterday it had agreed with Japan and South Korea to hold a summit between the three countries’ leaders “as early as possible”, after a rare meeting between senior diplomats in Seoul.

The three-way talks – attended by deputy and assistant ministers from the three countries – were seen as an attempt to ease Beijing’s concerns over Washington’s deepening security ties with Tokyo and Seoul.

Beijing described them as a “in-depth discussion on promoting the stable restarting of cooperation”.

“It was agreed that carrying out cooperation between China, Japan and South Korea is in the common interests of the three parties,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

The three countries agreed to hold a meeting of their foreign ministers “in the next few months”, Wang said, and to promote “the holding of a leaders’ meeting as early as possible at a time convenient to all three countries”.

South Korea’s foreign ministry also said the diplomats had “agreed to hold the trilateral summit meeting at the earliest time possible and host a trilateral ministerial meeting in preparation”.

The last such summit took place in 2019.

No other leaders’ summit has since been held because of diplomatic and historical disputes between Seoul and Tokyo, in part linked to Japan’s colonial rule over the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin stressed that cooperation among the three countries “plays a significant role not only in North East Asia but also in the peace, stability, and prosperity of the world”, his ministry said in a statement before the meeting.

Park further highlighted that together, the three nations “account for 20% of the world’s population and 25% of the global GDP”, it added.

As the threat from nuclear-armed North Korea grows, South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol has pulled Seoul closer to long-standing ally Washington.

He has meanwhile sought to bury the hatchet with Japan, also a close US ally.

In August, they said a “new chapter” of close three-way security cooperation was beginning after a historic summit at Camp David in the United States.

Beijing had lodged complaints over a statement released at the Camp David summit, in which the three allies criticised China’s “aggressive behaviour” in the South China Sea. — AFP

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