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Lee to visit Sendai, Fukushima during three-way summit

President Lee Myung-bak is scheduled to visit Sendai, where Koreans suffered the greatest damages due to the worst-ever offshore quake and tsunami that struck eastern Japan in March, during his weekend trip to Tokyo for trilateral summit talks with the leaders of China and Japan.

The three governments agreed to hold the fourth annual Korea-Japan-China summit in Tokyo, diplomatic sources here said Wednesday.

During his two-day trip, Lee is expected to visit Fukushima with Prime Ministers Naoto Kan of Japan and Wen Jiabao of China. Both Lee and Wen plan to visit Sendai, but on separate missions, Seoul officials said.

“It has been agreed that the summit talks will be held in Tokyo, but the three leaders will visit Fukushima and Sendai,” multiple diplomatic sources here said.

“Japan is soon expected to make an official announcement (on the venue and the itinerary).”

Tokyo had proposed earlier to host the three-way meeting in Fukushima, where the tsunami-stricken nuclear reactors exploded, in an apparent bid to ease fears that its nuclear disaster could get worse than Chernobyl.

The Chinese foreign ministry announced Sunday that Wen will attend the trilateral summit in Tokyo, turning down Fukushima as the official venue of the meeting.

Beijing said, however, that Wen will visit Fukushima to “convey heartfelt compassion and support to the Japanese people in their post-disaster reconstruction efforts.”

The three leaders are expected to issue a joint statement during the May 21-22 summit vowing closer cooperation to share information in case of nuclear plant accidents.

In early April, Japan dumped thousands of tons of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled Fukushima plant without giving prior notice to South Korea, stoking concerns here over the safety of fisheries from Japan’s eastern waters.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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