Tokyo, Aug 24 (IANS) The Foreign Ministers of Japan, South Korea and China began a trilateral summit in Tokyo on Wednesday to discuss the launch of a ballistic missile by a North Korean submarine hours earlier that fell into the sea, off the Japanese coast.
Japanese Foreign minister Fumio Kishida, and his counterparts — Yun Byung-se and Wang Yi, the South Korean and Chinese Foreign Ministers, respectively — are attending the meeting, Efe news reported.
The missile launched by a North Korean submarine from the country’s eastern coast around 5.00 a.m. on Wednesday, flew around 500 km (311 miles) before falling into the sea, 500 km from the Japanese coast, making it Pyongyang’s most successful ballistic missile test till date.
The latest launch that underlines the progress in North Korea’s weapons development programme will take priority in the agenda of the meeting, ahead of discussions on economic cooperation, disaster management as also a possible trilateral summit between the leaders.
Japan is also expected to convey its displeasure to China over Beijing’s actions around the disputed Senkaku islands in recent months.
Since 2012, the dispute between the two, over the sovereignty of these Tokyo-administered islands, has worsened and played a significant role in stalling the trilateral meets.
Meanwhile, Tokyo and Seoul are also locked in a dispute over the ownership of the Dokdo islands, and also over the role of the Japanese imperial forces during their occupation of the Korean peninsula before and during the Second World War.
The summit is also expected to 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.