Wednesday's trilateral summit with China and South Korea will afford Japan something it has craved for weeks: a chance to demonstrate to the world that it remains one of the key global players contributing to the fast-changing diplomatic climate on the Korean Peninsula.

But with China's stance on North Korea fundamentally different from Japan's, any agreement the trio will hammer out over the regime will likely be symbolic at best, with Beijing inclined to avoid delving too much into any sensitive detail that could compromise ties with Tokyo, analysts said.

Unlike the historic inter-Korean summit last month and a planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks, the annual three-way dialogue directly involves Tokyo, coming on the heels of intensifying talk that Japan has been alienated from a whirlwind of recent breakthrough developments on North Korea.