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Trilateral Talks Among South Korea, China, and Japan Set to Pave the Way for First Leaders’ Summit in Four Years

The Foreign Ministers of South Korea, China, and Japan are scheduled to convene in the southeastern port city of Busan on Sunday, marking a significant diplomatic effort to set the stage for the first leaders’ summit among the three countries in four years. The meeting, headed by South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, aims to explore avenues for enhanced trilateral cooperation while addressing regional and global issues.

The trilateral talks seek to lay the groundwork for the first summit among the leaders of South Korea, China, and Japan in nearly four years. The gathering will facilitate broad discussions on bolstering cooperation and addressing pressing regional and global challenges.

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin will engage in separate bilateral talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa before convening a luncheon meeting and subsequent three-way talks. The agenda includes discussions on trilateral cooperation, regional dynamics, and global issues.

The trilateral summit, which traditionally occurred annually, has experienced a nearly four-year hiatus. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the delay, alongside strained bilateral relations between Seoul and Tokyo concerning the compensation of Korean victims of forced labor during Japan’s colonial rule.

South Korea’s independent decision to compensate Korean victims without seeking contributions from Japanese companies in March marked a significant turning point. The summit’s resumption is seen against the backdrop of concerns related to North Korea’s recent successful launch of a military spy satellite and allegations of providing weapons to Russia.

Key items on the agenda include addressing concerns over North Korea’s actions, discussions on weapons proliferation, and exploration of collaborative efforts in forward-looking areas. Sustainability, climate change, science and digital technologies, health, aging society, and people-to-people exchanges are likely focal points.

The trilateral talks underscore diplomatic efforts to navigate challenges, promote regional stability, and foster cooperation on shared concerns. The meeting is viewed as an essential step toward reviving the annual summit format, emphasizing mutual understanding and collaboration.

The upcoming trilateral talks in Busan hold strategic importance, providing an opportunity for South Korea, China, and Japan to address regional dynamics, explore avenues for cooperation, and pave the way for a leaders’ summit. The discussions come at a critical juncture, considering recent geopolitical developments and the imperative for collaborative approaches to shared challenges.

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