China has proposed three-way vice-foreign ministerial-level talks with Japan and South Korea, diplomatic sources said Sunday, a move Tokyo views as underscoring Beijing's enthusiasm for a three-nation summit this year, the first in four years.

China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, made the proposal when he met with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Jakarta on July 14, even as the two countries are at odds over Tokyo's plan to release treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear complex into the sea around this summer, the sources said.

Usually, a summit between Japan, China and South Korea is held following working-level and foreign ministerial-level talks.