Japan plans summit with US, South Korea on G-20 sidelines
Abe also to meet Putin and seeks Japan-China-South Korea talks
TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters Monday that he hopes to hold a three-way meeting with the leaders of the U.S. and South Korea at next month's Group of 20 summit in Germany, outlining plans for a diplomatic push.
Abe plans to speak with U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during the event, which begins July 7 in Hamburg. The allies are to reaffirm cooperation on dealing with North Korea, the prime minister said.
Abe is then set to visit several Northern European countries, a trip originally scheduled for the Golden Week holiday in May but later postponed.
Mending fences with China and South Korea will be a focal point of the prime minister's diplomatic efforts. Moon and Chinese President Xi Jinping have expressed interest in a trilateral summit, and Tokyo will "get preparations underway in earnest," Abe said.
Japan, whose turn it is to play host, hopes to hold the meeting as early as next month. China has yet to formally respond.
Abe plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the G-20 sidelines as well.
"I want to kick-start joint economic activities in the Northern Territories and make progress on the peace treaty process," the prime minister said, using Japan's name for the Russian-controlled southern Kuril Islands. The islands, also claimed by Tokyo, are at the center of a dispute that has kept the two countries from signing a peace treaty for 72 years since World War II.
The Japanese government plans to send a public-private survey group to the islands this month to consider joint economic projects. But the process is running behind the initial schedule, and results are unlikely to come anytime soon.