• Kyodo

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The foreign ministers of Japan, China and South Korea will meet next week on the outskirts of Beijing to discuss North Korea and other regional issues, officials said Friday.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono will leave for Beijing on Tuesday to join his Chinese and South Korean counterparts, Wang Yi and Kang Kyung-wha, in their first three-way meeting since August 2016, according to Japan’s Foreign Ministry.

Arrangements are being made for Kono to meet separately with Kang and Wang during the three-day visit, the ministry said, adding that the trilateral meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.

Japan’s relations with South Korea have sunk to their lowest level in years due to disputes over wartime history and trade policy. Kono and Kang met earlier this month on the sidelines of meetings related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Bangkok but failed to resolve the bilateral spat.

Marking the 74th anniversary of the end of Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula on Aug. 15, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for dialogue with Japan, saying Seoul will “join hands” if Tokyo chooses the path of holding talks.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Moon have not sat down for talks since bilateral ties worsened sharply following South Korean court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to pay compensation for wartime forced labor during the colonial period from 1910 to 1945.

The trilateral meeting comes after diplomatic sources said earlier that the foreign ministers would coordinate the schedule for their leaders’ summit chaired by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in December.

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