In what may be a very rare occurrence, ranking diplomats from China, Japan and South Korea met in Seoul on Thursday to discuss how to form a trilateral collaboration amidst frosty political relations between the three due to territorial and historical issues. While there was not a groundbreaking result from the meeting, it’s a good sign that the three were able to come up with agreements despite the tensions between the East Asian superpowers.
China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin, Japan’s Asia Bureau Director General Shinsuke Sugiyama and South Korea’s Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Lee Kyung-soo reaffirmed that it was crucial for their respective countries to have continuous dialogue in order to promote “peace, stability and co-prosperity” in East Asia. This was the eighth meeting between officials from their foreign ministries and they will be hinging on strengthening trilateral relations in the future.
One of the agenda discussed during the meeting was the possibility of pushing for a meeting of the countries’ state leaders and foreign ministers. This was previously done annually in order to bring about peace and stability in the region but the recent disputes have put them on hold. The last time there was a foreign minister-level meeting and summit was April and May of 2012, respectively. Seoul was supposed to host the one in May this year but plans fell apart due to frosty relations between Beijing and Tokyo over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands’ sovereignty issue. Japan and South Korea have a separate dispute, this time over the Takeshima/Dokdo islands, currently under the administration of the latter.
Despite the mostly positive results of the meeting, a Seoul official said that there is a very low possibility that a three-nation summit will be held this year. “Under these circumstances, the prospect of holding the summit is very difficult to determine, but we will continue to make efforts to arrange one until the end of our chairmanship at the end of this year,” said the official.
[ via Global Post ]
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