Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering holding talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang early next month on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Thailand, government sources said Wednesday.
Abe hopes to advance discussions on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Japan sometime next spring, according to the sources.
Chances remain slim, however, for talks between Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is also expected to take part in the multilateral gatherings in Bangkok, as little progress has been made so far in resolving disputes over wartime compensation and trade issues between their two countries.
South Korean court rulings over the past year ordering Japanese companies to compensate for wartime labor led to the worsening of bilateral relations as Tokyo maintains the issue was settled under a 1965 accord.
Abe is expected to take part in regional summits, including one between the ASEAN countries, Japan, China and South Korea, as well as the East Asia Summit involving additional countries such as the United States and Russia.
The prime minister is also expected to attend a leaders’ meeting for the Asia-wide Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade agreement.