South Korea, China and Japan to meet for a Trilateral Summit in Seoul

The leaders of South Korea, China, and Japan will meet next week for their first trilateral talks since 2019, focusing on talks to revive cooperation between the countries after a hiatus of more than four years. 

“This summit will be a turning point for Korea, Japan and China to completely restore and normalize three-way cooperation systems,” Seoul's deputy national security director, Kim Tae-hyo, announced at a press conference.

The Asian nations held their first-ever stand-alone trilateral summit in 2008, and were supposed to hold it annually, however the COVID-19 pandemic and the complex ties between the surrounding countries have caused the summit to be postponed.  The last summit was held in December 2019 in China. 

trilateral meet

Trilateral Meeting Key Detail

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, Chinese Premier Li Qiang, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will hold a trilateral summit in Seoul on May 26-27. 

Xi Jinping, the president of China, will not be present. 

On Sunday, Li and Kishida are supposed to land in South Korea. According to Kim, they will have a private meeting with Yoon on Sunday afternoon before going to a welcome dinner banquet hosted by the president of South Korea, according to Japanese officials, 

However, there is still no decision regarding Japan’s Kishida and China’s Li  bilateral meeting.

xi jinping with china's premier

Major Points of Discussion

Kim stated that cooperation on six issues put forth by South Korea would be discussed by the three leaders: 

  • disasters
  • trade
  • technology
  •  health and ageing population
  • personnel exchanges
  • climate change. 

According to Kim, the three leaders will also talk about unidentified regional and global political issues, as well as how to work together to address a global poly-crisis and advance world peace. 

Yoshimasa Hayashi, the chief cabinet secretary of Japan, stated that the three leaders' meeting is significant for the peace and prosperity of the entire region because they are all accountable for it. 

Efforts to Improve Ties with China?

The three nations, which are closely allied both economically and culturally, make up roughly 25% of the world's gross domestic product. A trilateral meeting between South Korea, Japan, and China takes place against a backdrop of complex geopolitical dynamics and a variety of problems, emphasising the intricate web of relationships in East Asia.

Japan's colonial past with South Korea has historically plagued relations between both nations. However, as both countries work to put their past grudges behind them and strengthen their cooperation in tackling shared challenges, moving in the direction of peacemaking and cooperation, tensions have eased in recent years.

Importantly, The trilateral meeting’s main emphasises will be on how important it is for the three countries to strengthen their relations, especially when China's power is increasing and there is threat posed by North Korea's nuclear program.

china,japana and south korea


All three countries understand and emphasise the importance of China's role in persuading Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program, which now is a significant threat to regional peace or maybe world peace.

Although China has publicly expressed disapproval of North Korea's nuclear aspirations, doubts remain about the country's ability to enforce UN sanctions and provide covert assistance to its ally.

A comprehensive approach to addressing the nuclear issue is made more difficult by China's strategic calculus, which sees North Korea as a buffer state against US influence.

china and north korea


Moreover, South Korea and Japan are close allies to the US, and wants to cooperate and strengthen ties with China also. Thus, the delicate balancing of preserving economical ad trade relations with China while simultaneously strengthening security cooperation with the United States will also be at the centre of the discussions.

However, Beijing has been hostile regarding the strengthening of Seoul-Tokyo-Washington security cooperation.

south korea and japan- us allies


Concerns about attempts to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait will also be discussed at the summit. China have criticised South Korea and Japan’s involvement in the issue, however both nations have reiterated their commitment to regional stability. 

Notably, by upholding the "one-China" principle, South Korea reaffirms its commitment to diplomatic protocol while navigating complex regional dynamics and potentially reducing tensions surrounding Taiwan.


Photo: Multiple Sources

(Inputs from Agencies)

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