Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his South Korean counterpart that he supports Seoul’s efforts to resume three-way summits that include Japan, a sign Beijing is trying to counter a US push to forge closer ties with its two Asian allies.
(Bloomberg) — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his South Korean counterpart that he supports Seoul’s efforts to resume three-way summits that include Japan, a sign Beijing is trying to counter a US push to forge closer ties with its two Asian allies.
Wang told Park Jin that China backs South Korea — the current chair of the stalled trilateral summit — in playing an “active role” to push forward cooperation with Japan, according to a statement late Thursday from Beijing.
Park said in the call with Wang that he would like to see a return to shuttle diplomacy between the two, according to a statement from South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
South Korea’s Presidential Office has said in recent days it is working to resume the summit with China and Japan. Meetings among the leaders of the three economic powerhouses haven’t taken place since 2019 due initially to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, Japan and South Korea have been encouraged by the US, a mutual ally, to curb high-tech exports to China, their biggest trade partner.
China has been the most vocal critic of Japan’s release of treated wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, souring the often fraught ties between the neighbors.
“Nothing is currently decided about high-level meetings with China,” Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters Friday. “But we continue to seek constructive and stable ties,” he added.
Read: Five Takeaways From the US, Japan and South Korea Summit
Cooperation among Seoul, Tokyo and Washington grew stronger when Yoon Suk Yeol became South Korea’s president in May 2022, backing hawkish security policies that were in line with those of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
This resulted in boosting joint military drills and a landmark summit last month hosted by President Joe Biden that led to measures to reduce global supply chain exposure to China and moves to bind the trilateral relationship so tightly that it would be hard to unravel.
Also: Biden’s Summit With Asian Allies Further Isolates China
China’s Foreign Ministry has criticized the summit, saying it would only “start division and confrontation.”
–With assistance from Isabel Reynolds.
(Updates with comments from Japan foreign minister in sixth paragraph.)
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