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Politics

Japan, China, South Korea to reinstate annual high-level meetings

Leaders from South Korea, Japan and China will reinstate annual talks at a summit on Nov. 1.

TOKYO -- Upcoming top-level talks between Japan, China and South Korea will revive annual trilateral meetings, with the countries expected to firm up plans for a gathering next year in Japan and hatch cooperative measures on nuclear safety and other issues.

     Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye will gather in Seoul on Nov. 1. They are set to agree to a joint statement, the details of which have been largely hashed out in high-level foreign ministry talks. The three will, at the very least, agree to restart regular summit meetings, including next year's in Japan, a government source said.

     Japan, China and South Korea began holding annual summits in 2008, rotating hosting duties. But the practice abruptly ended in May 2012, amid rising tensions between Japan and China over ownership of the Senkaku Islands and chilly Japanese-South Korean ties following former President Lee Myung-bak's visit to the disputed island of Takeshima.

     Neither Park nor Li has visited Japan since taking office. The timing of next year's meeting has yet to be determined.

Back on track

November's joint statement is set to create a system for sharing critical information in the case of a nuclear power accident. An existing convention already requires that the International Atomic Energy Agency be promptly notified in the case of an accident. But a separate mechanism letting the three neighboring countries keep in close contact with one another on the matter is deemed necessary. Options, including an online information-sharing system, will be evaluated.

     The statement is set to call for efforts to boost cooperation on disaster prevention and environmental challenges. Measures to build mutual confidence on cybersecurity and to grow tourism-related exchange between the nations are also slated for inclusion. The statement is also set to touch on the shared aim of negotiating a trilateral free trade agreement.

(Nikkei)

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