• Kyodo

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President Park Geun-hye said Monday that South Korea is working to hold a trilateral summit with Japan and China and establish more trust in East Asia.

“The establishment of a framework of trust and cooperation in the East Asian region, including the Korean Peninsula, is very important for the whole world to move into a more peaceful and secure future,” Park said in a speech at the seventh World Policy Conference.

“It’s important for Korea, China and Japan to gather forces together for multilateral cooperation in Northeast Asia, given their unique role and status,” Park said in remarks released by the South Korean presidential office.

“The South Korean government wants to make efforts to arrange a summit among the three countries in the near future on the basis of a foreign ministers’ meeting,” she said.

Diplomatic ties between Japan and South Korea have been strained by historical issues stemming from Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, including the issue of Korean women who South Korea says were coerced to work in wartime Japanese military brothels.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have held their first talks since they took office, meeting last month in Beijing on the sidelines of a regional leaders’ forum amid lingering tension over disagreements on territorial and history-related issues.

Abe and Park have not held a formal summit. South Korea has urged Japan to address the “comfort women” issue before Park will meet with Abe.

Since 2008, South Korea, Japan and China have held five trilateral summits independently from other multilateral meetings. But none has taken place since Abe came to power in December 2012.

Since 1999, the three countries had also often held trilateral summits on the occasion of the ASEAN-related summit meetings.

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