The Japanese government will likely agree to hold top-level talks with China and South Korea this autumn, in response to an agreement by China and South Korea’s leaders to have such a three-way meeting, government sources said Thursday, Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network report.
Tokyo and Seoul are also working on ways to ensure that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye hold talks on the sidelines of the three-way summit meeting, according to the sources.
If realised, the Japan-South Korea summit talks will be the first since Abe and Park took office. The last three-way summit meeting took place in Beijing in May 2012.
At a press conference Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the Japanese government would agree to hold three-way summit talks.
The government “hopes to make arrangements in close coordination with China and South Korea regarding the specific timing and venue [for the summit meeting] through further communication” with Beijing and Seoul, Suga said.
Japan, China and South Korea are facilitating arrangements for the planned summit talks, which will likely take place in South Korea on October 31 or November 1.
“China and South Korea have complied with a schedule arranged by Japan,” a Japanese government source said.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will likely attend the three-nation summit talks.
Japan, China and South Korea are still divided over questions of historical perception. Probable major themes to be addressed in the three-way talks include negotiations over a proposal to conclude a free trade agreement involving the three nations, and the North Korean issue.
Abe intends to agree if Seoul proposes a Japan-South Korea summit meeting. The prime minister and Park have not held such talks since they took office, only making brief contact at international conferences and elsewhere.
The main focus of the envisaged Abe-Park meeting will be how to address so-called comfort women. However, the Japanese government has remained unchanged in its official position that the question of compensation between the two nations has already been resolved.