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Japan, China, South Korea foreign ministers expected to meet next month

[TOKYO] A trilateral meeting of foreign ministers from Japan, China and South Korea is likely to be held in Seoul in the latter part of March, according to sources.

The government hopes the meeting will pave the way for realizing a summit meeting among the three countries' leaders soon, the sources said.

If the foreign ministers meeting takes place, it will be the first since the one held in Ningbo, China, in April 2012. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, China's Wang Yi and South Korea's Yun Byung-se are expected to attend.

The agenda is expected to include cooperation in the fields of economy and energy; measures toward resuming the so-called six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program; and antiterrorism measures following the Japanese hostage crisis instigated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militant group.

A meeting of the three countries' foreign ministers was postponed after Japan placed some of the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture under state control in September 2012, a move China opposed.

However, a summit meeting between Japan and China took place in November last year, and Chinese and South Korean leaders agreed during a bilateral summit meeting to hold a trilateral gathering soon.

Spurred by these developments, the three nations' foreign ministries have been making arrangements for a trilateral meeting.

WP