The foreign ministers of China, South Korea and Japan promised to set up a trilateral leadership summit as soon as possible. They met in Seoul on Saturday (Mar 21) for the first time in almost three years.
The talks were interpreted as an effort to settle regional tensions aroused by territorial and historical disputes.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Byung-Se, Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, said in a joint statement they had agreed to set up a summit of their leaders “at the earliest convenient time.” The Foreign Ministers also stated their “firm opposition” to the development North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Yoon said in a press conference that the joint statement has “special significance” and it resulted out of “deep discussions”.
The ministerial talks were last held in April 2012, after they were started as an annual event in 2007. A new summit is the first time that the current leaders of Japan, South Korea and China will meet. The last such summit was held in May 2012. Since then all three countries have elected new leaders
Beijing and Seoul are keeping themselves at a distance from Tokyo in the last years, after some rows over island territories. The three leading powers in Asia account for almost 20 per cent of global GDP.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye have already participated at two bilateral summits. Park has refused to talk one-on-one with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while Xi has only attended a brief meeting with Abe in Beijing last year.
China and South Korea have strong ties between them and feel Japan hasn’t shown sufficient remorse for the wars in the past. Both nations reacted with anger when, in December 2103, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit at Tokyo shrine which honors Japan’s war dead, among them being a number of senior war criminals.
The talks between China, Japan and South Korea had been closely monitored by the United States, while the wider international community has asked on the Northeast Asian neighbors to come to an agreement.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said of their lack of reconciliation that is the missing link for stabilty and peace East Asia.
Image Source: Shift East