Ja­pan, China, S Korea be­gin meet­ing on dis­putes

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

For­eign min­is­ters of Ja­pan, China and South Korea have kicked off a meet­ing in the Ja­panese cap­i­tal to dis­cuss their com­mon­al­i­ties and dif­fer­ences amid boil­ing ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes and prob­lems with North Korea.

The meet­ing started yes­ter­day at a Tokyo ho­tel as Ja­panese For­eign Min­is­ter Fu­mio Kishida, China’s Wang Yi and South Korea’s Yun Byung-se met for din­ner.

The three, who are ex­pected to start for­mal talks to­day, shook hands and smiled for cam­eras be­fore their meal but did not talk to the me­dia.

Ja­panese of­fi­cials de­scribed the meet­ing as “ex­tremely im­por­tant,” with Chief Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga say­ing the three coun­tries that play ma­jor roles in the re­gion can use the meet­ing to “ex­change opin­ions frankly.”

Ten­sions be­tween Ja­pan and China spiked this month over a long-run­ning dis­pute on un­in­hab­ited islets called the Senkaku in Ja­pan and the Diaoyu in China in the East China Sea.

An un­named Ja­panese For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial said Tokyo will use the meet­ing to clearly con­vey its mes­sage about the dis­puted is­lands.

“We will de­liver Ja­pan’s think­ing di­rectly and clearly ... It is im­por­tant for us to send our mes­sage firmly,” said the of­fi­cial.

Tokyo also has pe­ri­odic ten­sions with Seoul over the legacy of Ja­pan’s wartime ag­gres­sion, while China has re­peat­edly crit­i­cised a plan by South Korea for the de­ploy­ment of a US anti-mis­sile sys­tem.

China is ex­pected to raise the is­sue of US Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fence (THAAD) sys­tem, which South Korea plans to de­ploy in the face of al­leged threat from North Korea.

Ja­pan and South Korea will also press Bei­jing on the hot is­sue of North Korea’s mis­sile and nu­clear de­vel­op­ment. The two be­lieve that China can do more by pil­ing up eco­nomic pres­sure on Py­ongyang to pre­vent it from fur­ther provo­ca­tions.

The meet­ing is the first since March last year and the top diplo­mats are ex­pected to pre­pare the ground for a sum­mit later this year. Lead­ers of the three coun­tries met in South Korea in Novem­ber last year. — PressTV.

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