|Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (L) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R)
(Photo: Indian Express)
This will be the first Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in 5 years to settle pending issues between the Northeast Asian nations. But a shadow has been cast over the event by recent negative moves by parties involved.
Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba met with his Chinese counterpart Liu Zhenmin and RoK's counterpart Kim Hyoung-zhin in Tokyo on August 21st to discuss preparations for the 8th Meeting of Foreign Ministers.
This was the 11th meeting of deputy foreign ministers since March 2007, creating an important communication channel between the three countries.
Important issues discussed
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida together with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and RoK's counterpart Yun Byung-se will discuss regional and global issues as well as assess their trilateral cooperation.
This will be the fist visit by a Chinese Foreign Minister to Japan since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.
Parties involved may discuss the territorial dispute between China and Japan over the islands known to the Japanese as Senkaku and to the Chinese as Diaoyu.
Seoul and Beijing will also discuss the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the RoK.
Other topics may include win-win cooperation and Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
The Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will lay groundwork for the trilateral summit, which is planned to take place on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in China next month.
The RoK’s Foreign Ministry said the upcoming meeting will open opportunities for expanding win-win cooperation.
Tensions ahead of the meeting
Although Tokyo, Beijing, and Seoul have reached a consensus on organizing the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, differences between them will have a big affect on the meeting’s results.
Japan recently announced its plan to increase its defense budget to 5 trillion Yen (more than US$50 billion) in the fiscal year 2017, 2.3% higher than in 2016.
If approved, this will be a record high amount, with which the Japanese government will focus on developing missile defense shields.
Tokyo is also considering building more vessels to patrol around the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea. The Japanese government is seeking to get its budget plan approved at an upcoming cabinet meeting.
On August 23, Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada inspected a base of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force in Yokosuka to the southwest of Tokyo.
Inada urged the force to do better in warning and monitoring activities amidst China’s more aggressive moves at sea.
Since early August, many Chinese fishing boats and marine police vessels intruded upon Japan’s territory or appeared at the border area near disputed islands. Japan has several times sent diplomatic notes to China to protest the moves.
The relationship between China and the RoK has been hurt by the decision by Washington and Seoul in July on the deployment of THAAD.
China’s Foreign Ministry said THAAD will seriously affect the strategic security interests of many countries, including China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping publicly called on Seoul to pay heed to Beijing’s concerns and be cautious about the plan.
China has begun to cease issuing business visas for RoK's major businesses and tightened its management of the RoK's culture wave widespread in China.
Hopefully, the upcoming 8th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting between Japan, China, and the RoK will transcend differences and work towards cooperation for peace, stability, and development.