Japan, China, South Korea set to hold regional summit

Asia's three largest economies plan to hold their first trilateral talks in three years this autumn

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

East Asia's three largest economies — China, Japan and South Korea — are planning to hold their first trilateral summit since 2012 this autumn, despite their many historic grievances with one another, the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.

The summit could also be a platform for the first one-on-one meeting between Tokyo and Seoul's leaders, as the economic powers try to resume cooperation despite disputes in the East China Sea and bitter memories of World War II.

The paper said the summit's date will be announced this Sunday by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se, who is in Tokyo for the first time in four years.

The trilateral meeting is expected to take place in South Korea, between September and November, and it could host the first meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

The two countries have been in a bitter dispute over the issue of "comfort women" — South Korean women who were coerced into working in Japanese military-run brothels during World War II.

South Korea demands an unambiguous apology for the practice, but Abe refused to apologise other than by saying "comfort women experienced immeasurable pain and suffering.”

Both South Korea and China have been angered by Japanese government ministers visits — including Abe — to the Yasukuni Shrine containing the graves of war criminals, which they see as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.

China-Japan relations have also long been frayed by Japan's wartime conduct in the Chinese mainland, as well as the ongoing territorial dispute over the East China Sea.

China and Japan claim ownership of a small group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, called the Senkaku by Japan and the Diaoyu by China.

South Korea and Japan also have a separate dispute over islands that lie between their mainlands, called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese.

Chinese-US rapprochement?

Meanwhile, the flagship newspaper of China's Communist Party published an article on Saturday, praising the common interests between China and the United States and saying that the differences between the countries could be overcome.

The article comes only a few days ahead of the annual Strategic Economic Dialogue meeting in which the world's two largest economies will try to ease growing tensions between them over China's island building in the South China Sea and cyber attacks on US government targets that Washington says Beijing was behind.

China claims control over 90 percent of the disputed waters but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have rival territorial claims. The US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said earlier this month that the personal information of about 4 million federal employees was compromised following a massive cyber attack. Security officials say they suspect China was behind the attack.

The People's Daily article also argued that the two countries have "broad mutual interests" and "shared responsibility" for world peace and development.


TRTWorld and agencies