March 21, 2018 09:59
South Korea, China and Japan have agreed to hold a trilateral summit in Tokyo in early May, according to Japanese media on Tuesday.
It will be Moon's first visit to Japan since he took office and the first visit to Japan by a Korean president since December 2011. The meeting will be sandwiched between an inter-Korean summit in late April and a Washington-Pyongyang summit in May.
Kyodo News quoted diplomatic sources as saying the trilateral meeting will take place on May 8 or 9, and a senior Cheong Wa Dae official said, "We're fine-tuning the schedule."
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told reporters improvements in Beijing-Tokyo ties will make him "positively consider" visiting Japan for the trilateral summit. Li will be the first Chinese premier to visit Japan in about seven years.
The summit signals the resumption of shuttle diplomacy between the three countries, which started in 2008 with each country taking turns to host the summits but stopped in 2015 as conflict flared up over historic grievances and territorial claims.
But the situation is changing rapidly in Northeast Asia as summits between the two Koreas and between North Korea and the U.S. loom. "China may not want to lose the chance to hear directly from the South Korean president about the inter-Korean summit," a diplomatic source said.
"We hope that we can hold all of the Seoul-Washington, Seoul-Tokyo, and Seoul-Beijing-Tokyo summits" between the inter-Korean and Washington-Pyongyang summits, the senior Cheong Wa Dae official said.
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