Foreign ministers likely to hold trilateral talksForeign ministers from Korea, China and Japan are expected to gather in Seoul for trilateral talks around the last week of March, a high-ranking official from Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.
“The three countries have built up a consensus to hold trilateral talks among three foreign ministers through the process of consultations over the matter. I expect the trilateral talks will take place around the last week of March,” said the official under the condition of anonymity.
In the past, three-way discussions among the foreign ministers of the neighboring countries have acted as a prelude to their heads of state holding a summit meeting. As a result, many political observers speculate that trilateral summit talks involving Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, China’s President Xi Jinping and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be held in the first half of this year.
The last trilateral summit meeting took place in May 2012, a month after the three foreign ministers met in April 2012.
But the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands (known as the Diaoyu Islands in Chinese) and Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine have derailed a trilateral summit meeting from being scheduled over the past three years. Korea has assumed the role as the presiding country for the trilateral summit meeting since 2013 because of its postponement.
If the meeting materializes in March, Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will discuss holding a trilateral summit meeting, the denuclearization of North Korea, cooperation against Islamic State terrorists and collaboration on economic and energy issues.
BY AHN HYO-SEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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