The Korea Herald


S. Korea, China, Japan to hold high-level talks ahead of FM meeting: gov't sources

By KH디지털2

Published : March 1, 2015 - 15:50

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South Korea, China and Japan have agreed to hold a meeting of high-ranking diplomats in Seoul ahead of the three nations' foreign ministerial meeting, multiple government sources here said Sunday.

The sources said Lee Kyung-soo, South Korea's deputy foreign minister for political affairs, will meet with Liu Zhenmin, the Chinese vice foreign minister handling Asian affairs, and Shinsuke Sugiyama, Japan's deputy foreign minister. Their talks will be held around March 10 or 11, according to the sources.

This will be the first gathering of these three diplomats since September last year in Seoul, and comes just prior to the three-way foreign ministerial meeting, which will likely be held March 21 and 22 in the South Korean capital.

Lee, Liu and Sugiyama are largely expected to discuss the agenda for the upcoming foreign ministers' meeting, the first of its kind since April 2012. With their ministerial talks, the three neighbors are hoping to pave the way for a potential trilateral summit.

At a regional summit in Myanmar in November, South Korean President Park Geun-hye expressed her hope to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Tensions over historical issues still linger between Japan and its two neighbors. Tokyo has refused to face up to its wartime atrocities, such as the sexual enslavement of Korean women, and since taking office in early 2013, Park has shunned a bilateral summit with Abe, calling on Japan to first sincerely apologize over the sex slavery issue.

Japan and China have been at odds over a territorial dispute involving islands in the East China Sea -- called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

In their previous meeting last September, Lee, Liu and Sugiyama discussed strengthening trilateral cooperation in disaster management, nuclear security, cyberspace security and maritime policies.

One South Korean government source noted that the three countries are also hoping to launch new "meaningful" projects together. (Yonhap)