China, Japan, and South Korea to resume annual trilateral meetings
Amid escalating tensions in the South China Sea and faced with the looming Taiwan election, the foreign ministers of China, Japan, and South Korea held their first in-person talks since 2019 on Sunday, in Busan, South Korea, with hopes of paving the way for resumption of formal annual trilateral summits.
The three countries had begun holding annual summits in 2008 but suspended them four years ago during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contentious issues up for discussion at this preliminary meeting included China’s ban on Japanese seafood due to Tokyo’s discharge of treated radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, North Korea’s recent spy satellite launch, and Japan and South Korea’s deepening ties with the United States, including their recent move to strengthen their mutual security cooperation.
Next steps: Japan’s Yoko Kamikawa, South Korea’s Park Jin, and China’s Wang Yi agreed to hold a trilateral leaders’ summit at the “earliest” possible time. The three pledged to cooperate in areas of people-to-people exchange, trade, technology, public health, sustainable development, and security, according to South Korean and Japanese statements.
“We three ministers agreed to restore and normalize three-nation cooperation at an early date,” Park Jin told reporters. South Korea had previously indicated that it would like the meeting before year’s end, but with December just around the corner, this may be a tall order.