April 05, 2013 12:25
The Chinese government has asked to postpone a trilateral summit with Korea and Japan that was scheduled to be held in Seoul in May, Kyodo reported Thursday.
The leaders of the three Asian countries have met each year since 2008. The Korean government wanted this year’s summit to take place on May 25-26.
But China requested a delay in view of a territorial dispute with Japan over the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands, and the meeting is now likely to take place in the second half of the year, Kyodo said.
Cheng Yonghua, China's ambassador to Japan, told reporters that Beijing is not avoiding the summit but does not want the leaders to become embroiled in unpleasant arguments face-to-face.
He called for more "effort" by the Japanese government in order for the summit to take place. China apparently feels ties with Japan cannot return to normal unless Japan abandons its plan to include the islands, which were until recently privately owned, in its official territory.
Korea, which has its own trouble with Japan over Tokyo's flimsy colonial claim to the Dokdo islets, seems willing to go along with the delay. A Cheong Wa Dae official said, "We're waiting for China to inform us of the schedule. The meeting is still being negotiated."
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