Top South Korea, Japan, China envoys discuss North Korea, regional bank
The foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan and China met on Saturday for the first time in three years, to try and improve frosty ties and restore a regular three-way summit of their leaders, stalled because of tension over history and territory.
Seoul: The foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan and China met on Saturday for the first time in three years, to try and improve frosty ties and restore a regular three-way summit of their leaders, stalled because of tension over history and territory.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed hope that South Korea would join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and South Korea`s Yun Byung-se said Seoul was reviewing its options, a South Korean official told Reuters after the meeting of the two ministers.
Japan has yet to show serious intent of joining the institution, Wang said. "It’s an Asian infrastructure investment bank, and Japan is an important part of Asia," he told reporters. "We can cooperate together."
Japan and South Korea, major regional US allies along with Australia, are notable absentees from the Bank. Japan says it is reviewing prospects of joining.
The United States, worried about China`s growing diplomatic clout, questions whether the Bank will have adequate governance and environmental and social safeguards.
South Korea`s foreign ministry said after Yun`s two-way meetings with Wang and with Japan`s Fumio Kishida that they agreed to cooperate on "cutting off advances in (North Korea`s) nuclear capability."
Wang did not raise the issue of potential deployment of a U.S. air defense system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), in South Korea, to counter North Korea`s missile capability, though Beijing sees it as a security threat.
South Korea and the United States have said there was no decision on the deployment, although Washington has said there was an urgent need to position the system in South Korea.
The Asian foreign ministers met against the backdrop of South Korea and China`s cool ties with Japan over what they see as its reluctance to properly atone for its wartime past. Both also have territorial disputes with Tokyo over islands.
The three-way talks will be a stepping stone towards restoring what had been an annual summit of the three countries` leaders to discuss cooperation, Yun said this week. An annual event since 2008, it has been on hold since May 2012.
Japan-China ties remain frosty despite Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time last November. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has yet to have a two-way summit with Abe.
Both China and Japan claim a tiny group of islets in the East China Sea, while South Korea and Japan have a separate island dispute.