Chinese leader Xi Jinping said over the weekend that Beijing welcomes the holding of a trilateral summit of China, South Korea and Japan at an appropriate time, Yonhap news agency reported.

Xi said he appreciates Seoul's efforts to resume the long-suspended annual three-way summit during a meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on the sidelines of the Asian Games, Yonhap reported Saturday, citing an official as saying on condition of anonymity.

Separately, state-run China Central Television reported that Xi had told Han Duck that China is willing to work to promote a strategic partnership between the two countries.

The three countries are seeking to hold by the year's end their first trilateral summit in about four years, Cho Hyun-dong, the South Korean ambassador to the United States, said last month.

The last time such a summit was held was December 2019. The hiatus was largely due to a low ebb in relations between Japan and South Korea over wartime issues, but the two have made dramatic progress in mending ties this year and held a three-way summit with the United States in mid-August near Washington.

In recent years, the coronavirus pandemic has also hindered engagements between China, Japan and South Korea. The three had agreed in 2008 to hold summits on an annual basis.

Tensions between Japan and China heightened recently after Tokyo went ahead with its decision to start releasing treated water from the wrecked Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant into the sea.