The Yomiuri ShimbunLeaders of Japan, China and South Korea are expected to focus on North Korea’s denuclearization at a trilateral summit in Tokyo on Wednesday morning.
At the meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to seek the cooperation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae In on resolving the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea, sources said.
Leaders of the three countries are meeting for the first time since a November 2015 summit in Seoul.
Li and Moon will be visiting Japan for the first time since their inaugurations. The trilateral talks are slated to take place at the State Guest House in Tokyo’s Motoakasaka district.
“The [upcoming summit] is taking place an important time, ahead of a U.S.-North Korea summit,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference Monday.
The three countries are currently coordinating to establish how they will address denuclearization in a joint declaration scheduled to be announced after the summit.
Japan and China hold differing positions on the issue.
Tokyo calls for maintaining maximum pressure in a bid to denuclearize North Korea in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, whereas Beijing argues that pressure should be eased in a phased manner as denuclearization progresses.
The three nations are also poised to issue a separate special statement in support of the Panmunjom Declaration announced after the inter-Korean summit on April 27. Abe, Li and Moon are expected to hold discussions aimed at accelerating negotiations on a free trade agreement among the three nations and a regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP) in East Asia.
At a Japan-China summit scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, Abe and Li are expected to formally agree to start operations of an air and maritime liaison mechanism for avoiding accidental clashes between Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and the Chinese military.
The two leaders are also expected to reach agreements on such matters as establishing a bilateral public-private body in consideration of China’s Belt and Road mega economic zone initiative.