Japan, China and South Korea have postponed until next year a trilateral summit that was to be held next week in Tokyo, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday amid the political turmoil in Seoul.
“We had been planning to host the summit between Japan, China and South Korea by the end of this year. But due to various circumstances, we will rearrange it and hold it in Japan at a suitable time next year,” Kishida told reporters.
He said the trilateral meeting is “very important” and that “we hope to convene it is as soon as possible.”
The outlook for the summit was uncertain after South Korean President Park Geun-hye was stripped of her powers following a vote by legislators last week to impeach her. The country’s first female leader has been embroiled in a corruption and abuse-of-power scandal. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn in now acting president.
The three countries had sought to host their annual summit next Monday and Tuesday in Tokyo, according to government sources.
It would have provided an opportunity for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Park to visit Japan for the first time since both took office in 2013.
The countries have been taking turns hosting trilateral summits since 2008, although none took place in 2013 and 2014 amid a chill in Japan-China relations. Last year’s summit was held in Seoul.
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