SEOUL – Senior diplomats from South Korea, Japan and China will hold talks Thursday in Seoul to discuss regional and international issues of common interest, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Kyung-soo, Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin will head their respective delegations at the meeting, the eighth of its kind.
Diplomatic sources said earlier that the officials will coordinate views on the feasibility of holding a trilateral summit by year’s end, though such a possibility appears to be slim amid Japan’s soured relations with both neighbors.
South Korea initially planned to host a trilateral summit in May, but it was scrubbed due to China’s unwillingness to hold such talks amid tensions over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, administered by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.
If a summit was held, it would be attended by South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
China has said it will not hold a summit or other high-level talks with Japan unless it recognizes there is a “territorial dispute” over the uninhabited Senkakus, known as Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan.
South Korea’s ties with Japan have become frostier over their differing interpretations of wartime history and a dispute over the sovereignty of a South Korean-controlled group of islets in the Sea of Japan, called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.