Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hailed improved ties with Seoul and stressed the need for stable relations with Beijing during bilateral talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Seoul on Sunday, a day ahead of their first trilateral summit since 2019.

The Japanese leader's talks with Li — their first formal meeting since the Chinese premier took up his post in March last year — lasted nearly an hour and saw Kishida emphasize a “mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" as the two countries seek to build “constructive and stable” ties.

While Li expressed his hopes that the two sides "will manage their differences," a number of divisive issues — from Fukushima wastewater to military moves near Taiwan — all but guarantee that ties continue to remain frosty.