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S. Korea, Japan, China to hold 1st summit in 4 1/2 years to discuss cooperation

May 26, 2024 - 11:22 By Yonhap
Yoon Suk Yeol (Left) and Fumio Kishida, Japan's prime minister, shake hands following a joint news conference at the prime minister's official residence on Mar. 16, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. (Getty Images)

Leaders of South Korea, China and Japan are set to meet on Sunday and Monday in Seoul for summit meetings, resuming their trilateral dialogue for the first time since 2019.

President Yoon Suk Yeol will have back-to-back bilateral talks with Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the presidential office later in the day and hold a trilateral session with the two leaders on Monday.

It marks the first three-way summit among the Asian countries since December 2019, after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and strained Seoul-Tokyo relations over historical disputes.

During a bilateral meeting with Li, Yoon is expected to discuss ways to promote strategic communication and expand economic cooperation and trade, and exchange opinions on security issues.

Li arrived in Seoul around noon, which marks his first visit since taking office in March 2023. Li and Yoon held their first meeting in September 2023 in Indonesia on the sidelines of a summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

In his talks with Kishida, Yoon is likely to exchange opinions on ways to deepen practical cooperation in various areas and bolster trilateral cooperation with the United States to deter North Korea's threats.

After the meetings, Yoon plans to host a welcome dinner for delegations of the three countries.

On Monday, the three leaders will discuss six areas of cooperation: economy and trade, sustainable development, health issues, science and technology, disaster and safety management, and people-to-people exchanges. They will adopt a joint statement on the outcome of the summit.

The leaders are expected to explore cooperation in economic, trade and health sectors while aiming to avoid friction, as Seoul and Tokyo have aligned more closely with Washington amid its intensifying rivalry with Beijing.

While their differences over North Korea and regional security issues are not likely to be resolved at the meeting, Seoul officials say it represents a crucial step in reviving trilateral dialogue to avoid conflict and boost collaboration in economy, technology and health sectors.

Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo said the upcoming summit will serve as a "turning point" for restoring and normalizing the trilateral summit and provide an opportunity to recover "future-oriented and practical cooperation" among the three countries. (Yonhap)