WASHINGTON (Kyodo) Senior officials from Japan, the United States and China are looking to hold their first trilateral policy dialogue in Washington around July to discuss issues of common interest, sources close to Japanese-U.S. relations said Friday.

The new dialogue framework, which the three intend to regularize, could develop into a pivotal multilateral forum in East Asia in the future.

The idea of holding a trilateral dialogue among the three nations was first floated by China to the U.S. administration of former President George W. Bush. But it was shelved due to Washington’s concern such dialogue might trigger a negative reaction from South Korea.

The administration of President Barack Obama hopes to seek Seoul’s understanding on the new framework by excluding, in principle, issues associated with North Korea from its agenda, the sources said.

At the dialogue session, Japan will be represented by Koro Bessho, deputy vice foreign minister and director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Foreign Policy Bureau, and the United States by Anne-Marie Slaughter, the State Department’s policy planning director. A similar-ranking Foreign Ministry official is expected to represent China.

The agenda will include the overall Asian situation and global issues such as climate change and energy, they said.

How far security-related issues will be addressed is uncertain, a source said.

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