China has told Japan it wants to examine the contents of a statement to be issued this summer by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, before deciding when to hold a trilateral summit involving South Korea, diplomatic sources said Monday.

China's position poses a difficulty for Abe, who is aiming to build on a recent thaw in bilateral relations without alienating his conservative support base in Japan.

Beijing's stance that it needs to scrutinize the upcoming statement raises the likelihood that a meeting between Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will not take place until after this summer.