Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the senior diplomats from China, Japan, and South Korea would meet in South Korea this weekend to talk about restarting their leaders’ meeting.
Because to the COVID-19 pandemic and their sometimes tense relationship, the presidents of the three Northeast Asian countries have not met annually since 2019. In 2008, the three-way summit got underway.
Despite being close culturally and economically, the three countries’ relations have had ups and downs because of a variety of problems, including North Korea’s nuclear program, the U.S.-China rivalry, and Japan’s wartime crimes.
Seoul’s Foreign Ministry released a statement announcing that the foreign ministers of the three nations will convene on Sunday in the city of Busan, in southeast South Korea, to discuss strategies for bolstering trilateral cooperation as well as other regional and global matters in advance of their leaders’ summit.
Additionally, the three ministers are scheduled to have one-on-one discussions off-site.
Senior representatives from the three countries decided in September to call off the trilateral meeting until “as soon as it is convenient.”
Together, South Korea and Japan, two of the United States’ most important regional allies, are home to nearly 80,000 American soldiers. Their recent efforts to strengthen the trilateral security relationship between Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington drew criticism from Beijing, which is very sensitive to any actions it perceives as attempting to impede China’s progress.
Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington united in their harsh condemnation of North Korea’s Tuesday night launch of its first military surveillance satellite into orbit. They said that the launch was a part of the North’s attempts to develop a space-based monitoring system and advance its missile capability. However, China, the North’s main ally, reiterated remarks it had made before when North Korea escalated tensions with significant nuclear tests and urged all relevant parties to remain calm and use caution.
Resolutions passed by the UN Security Council forbid North Korea from launching any satellites because they see them as a front for testing its long-range missile capability. According to the North, it is sovereignly entitled to launch satellites.
The Korean Peninsula was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945, and as a result, tensions between Tokyo and Seoul have deteriorated significantly in recent years. However, as South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol works to set aside historical disagreements and increase collaboration to better handle North Korea’s nuclear threats and other concerns, bilateral ties have lately improved dramatically.
However, a Seoul court this week ordered Japan to provide financial compensation to Koreans who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese forces during the colonial era, serving as a reminder of their complex relationship. Japan said that the decision broke both bilateral accords and international law and referred to it as “absolutely unacceptable.”
Long-standing disputes between China and Japan also center on the former’s crimes during World War II and its claims to islands in the East China Sea. China recently prohibited seafood imports from Japan in protest of that country’s release of treated radioactive effluent from its nuclear power station, which was damaged by the tsunami. This led to a trade conflict between the two countries.