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International relations

Abe to meet Xi and Moon in China later this month

North Korea on agenda for trilateral summit; two-way talks also planned

Japan's Shinzo Abe, China's Xi Jinping and South Korea's Moon Jae-in are set to meet in the Chinese province of Sichuan.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to visit China from Dec. 23 to 25 for a trilateral summit with South Korea.

Abe unveiled the travel schedule at a meeting of the government and ruling parties on Tuesday, stating, "I hope we can candidly exchange opinions on regional issues, including how to deal with North Korea, and other matters global society faces today."

The Chinese and South Korean presidents, Xi Jinping and Moon Jae-in, are expected to join Abe for the summit in the southwestern province of Sichuan. The three leaders plan to hold separate bilateral meetings.

Talks between Japan and South Korea are likely to focus on their recent trade dispute, which is linked to a ruling by Seoul's top court ordering Japanese companies to pay reparations for their use of wartime labor. Tokyo argues the verdict runs counter to the 1965 basic treaty that stated the issue had been resolved.

This would be Abe and Moon's first official talks since September 2018, though they chatted briefly -- for a mere 11 minutes -- on the sidelines of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations Plus Three and East Asia meetings in Thailand last month.

Separately, Abe is to visit India from Dec. 15 to 17, where he will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On this, Abe said, "I would like to hold discussions on the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific region as well as security and defense cooperation, and the expansion of economic and personal exchanges."

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