NATIONAL

Japan not taking issue with acting president joining summit: official

By Shin Ji-hye
  • Published : Jan 4, 2017 - 20:54
  • Updated : Jan 4, 2017 - 20:54

Japan doesn't seem to take issue with South Korea's acting president possibly joining a summit of three Asian neighbors that could happen early this year, a senior foreign ministry official said Wednesday.

Japan is seeking to hold the trilateral summit involving leaders from China and South Korea with some local media reporting that it has proposed the meeting to be held around Feb. 10.

As the timetable seems to be shaping up, critics here are worrying that it might not be appropriate for South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn to join the gathering.

Hwang has been serving as acting president since Dec. 9 when the parliament voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye over her alleged involvement in a influence-peddling scandal.

"I understand that Japan does not have any problem (with Hwang's capacity as acting president) given that it keeps proposing dates for the meeting," Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hyong-zhin told reporters.

Kim declined to confirm the exact dates that Tokyo has proposed, nor did he elaborate on whether South Korea has accepted any timetable. He still noted that the Seoul government wants to maintain the trilateral summit channels.

The three nations had taken turns hosting the summit since 2008 to promote cooperation. The meeting was put on hold for more than three years as Tokyo's attempts to whitewash its wartime atrocities and colonial occupation irked Seoul and Beijing. Talks were resumed in 2015.

Japan pushed to hold the summit late last year but it was postponed due in part to China's lukewarm stance and the political turmoil in South Korea caused by the impeachment. (Yonhap)