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Leaders of S. Korea, Japan and China unlikely to hold talks this month

The leaders of South Korea, China and Japan are unlikely to hold their annual meeting this month, a diplomatic source said Wednesday, amid a possible impeachment against President Park Geun-hye over a corruption scandal.

   Japan has proposed that the leaders of the three neighbors meet in Japan on Dec. 19-20. South Korea told Japan last month that it will attend the trilateral summit, though China remains silent on whether its leader will participate in the talks.

   The three countries need to work out details of the summit this week if they want to hold the talks as proposed.

   "It is a difficult situation to hold the talks within this year," the diplomatic source said.

   Japan, the host country, also reportedly believes that the three leaders cannot meet this year.

   South Korean lawmakers are set to vote on Friday on an impeachment bill against Park over the scandal, in which her longtime confidante manipulated state affairs behind the scenes.

   A parliamentary endorsement of the impeachment bill needs at least 200 votes from the 300-seat National Assembly. The ruling Saenuri Party has 128 seats while three opposition parties have 165 seats and there are seven independents.

   The leaders of the three countries met for talks in November last year for the first time in three years.

   A trilateral summit had been suspended since 2012 due to tensions between South Korea and Japan and between China and Japan over territorial and other history-related issues.

   Japan ruled the Korean Peninsula as a colony from 1910-45 and controlled much of China in the early part of the 20th century. (Yonhap)