Japan, China, S Korea to meet amid tensions

Tokyo, Aug 23 (IANS) Foreign Ministers from Japan, China and South Korea will meet on Wednesday in Tokyo to strengthen trilateral ties amid rising tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over the disputed Senkaku islands.

The talks will focus on economic cooperation and towards coordinating a response to North Korea’s continued nuclear weapons development, Japanese government sources told news agency Kyodo.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said he along with his South Korean and Chinese counterparts, Yun Byung-se and Wang Yi, respectively were expected to attend a preparatory dinner on Tuesday, Efe news reported.

The annual trilateral meetings are hosted on a rotating basis by the three countries, although they were stalled from 2012 to 2015, owing to deteriorating relations between the countries.

The Chinese Foreign Minister is the first from China to visit since President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2013. His visit comes amid growing tensions between the neighbours following frequent intrusions by Chinese ships into Japanese waters surrounding the Senkaku.

The Japanese minister also plans to broach the issue at a bilateral meeting with Wang, said government sources on Tuesday.

Kishida will try to register a protest with China over the Senkaku incidents and urge it to respect international laws in the various regional maritime disputes it is embroiled in.

The Tokyo-Beijing diplomatic standoff over the sovereignty of the uninhabited Senkaku islands in the South China Sea has worsened in recent months.

Meanwhile, the Wednesday meet in Tokyo could pave the way for a meeting between the Japanese prime minister and the Chinese president on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, between the 4th and 5th of September.



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