Top China, Japan, South Korea diplomats to hold talks on setting stage for leaders’ summit

The foreign ministers of China, Japan and South Korea plan to meet this weekend to help revive three-way leaders’ summits of the Asian powerhouses that have been on hold since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and political rancour.

The talks to prepare for the summit will be held on Sunday in the South Korean city of Busan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul said in a statement, adding the officials would exchange views on the direction of developments and cooperation for various regional and international situations.

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin will also hold separate bilateral meetings with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

South Korea has been working to resume the talks among the three, which could be held by the end of this year or early in 2024. China has found itself under pressure as neighbours Japan and South Korea move closer to Washington. Beijing’s own regional diplomatic outreach has had limited success, particularly as military tensions increase with Taiwan.

Kishida and Xi’s ‘pointless’ meeting fails to close gap on thorny issues

Seoul and Tokyo have worked with Washington to bolster joint military drills and information sharing to better align their defences from provocations from the likes of North Korea.
Their improving relations also led to a historic summit of President Joe Biden, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in August, which China’s foreign ministry said was as a deliberate attempt to sow discord among the Asian neighbours.

Biden has added to the pressure on Beijing as he has sought the help of Japan and South Korea to secure supply chains for key items, such as semiconductors, that are less dependent on China.

In a bid to ease tensions, Biden met Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in San Francisco in their first direct talks in about a year. They held about four hours of discussions, with both sides celebrating the meeting as a step towards normalising a relationship battered by a series of diplomatic and economic clashes.


Xi Jinping, Joe Biden hold talks on sidelines of Apec summit to ease strained US-China ties

Xi Jinping, Joe Biden hold talks on sidelines of Apec summit to ease strained US-China ties

The US and its partners have also been pressing China to use its influence on North Korea to rein in Kim Jong-un’s atomic ambitions. Beijing has been Pyongyang’s biggest benefactor for years and has called on Washington to press for peaceful developments on the Korean peninsula.
Security concerns were elevated this week after North Korea for the first time put a spy satellite in orbit. It has not been confirmed if the device is operational.

Kim has made it a top priority to deploy an array of reconnaissance probes in space to keep an eye on US forces in the region. South Korea said any North Korean satellite would be rudimentary at best and have little military value.

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