China reluctant to commit to Japan’s plan to hold trilateral summit with South Korea in April, sources say
Japanese foreign minister set to visit Beijing in January to discuss dates for talks last held more than two years ago
Japan has proposed to China and South Korea that a long-delayed trilateral summit be held in Tokyo in early April, but Beijing is withholding its response, diplomatic sources said on Friday.
With China remaining reluctant about the summit before its National People’s Congress in March, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has conveyed its readiness for a three-day visit to Japan by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae In from April 4 or 9, the people said.
Seoul said it would try to make necessary arrangements, they said.
The trilateral summit was last held in November 2015. Japan is expected to host the next summit, but it has been repeatedly postponed because of rows over territorial and historical issues.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono is set to visit China in late January at the earliest to arrange the summit date.
Tokyo hopes to arrange Abe’s visit to China for after the trilateral summit and invite Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan later in the year.
Japanese government sources have said Abe might not attend the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics ceremony in February despite Seoul’s invitation, because of the South Korean government’s stance on the thorny issue of Korean women forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels.