Japan, China and South Korea to hold meetings over disputes next week

The foreign ministers are expected to discuss regional issues and disputes in the upcoming meeting.

Japan, China and South Korea foreign ministries are planning to hold a meeting next week, despite conflicts between Tokyo and Beijing over the South China Sea and the East China Sea, a Japanese daily said on Wednesday.

A senior Japanese foreign ministry official said last month that Japan was willing to hold a meeting in late August. But the rise in the Sino-Japanese tension indicated that it was difficult to have such meeting.

The Tokyo Shimbun daily reported that all the three countries were busy organising for the meeting which is scheduled to be held in Tokyo on August 23 and 24.

The discussion is expected to lead to the groundwork for a three-way summit to be held in Tokyo later this year.

Reuters reported that the Beijing-datelined story said, "it was possible that Japan's Coast Guard rescue of Chinese fishermen last week had warned China to the idea of sending Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Japan for the meeting".

The three-way foreign ministers' framework and summit meetings are an important step to discuss regional issues and disputes, such as North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

However, Both Japanese and South Korean foreign ministry officials said that nothing has been finalized yet. Also, the Chinese foreign ministry was not available for a comment regarding this issue.

The conflict between Japan and China, Asia's two largest economies, has been strained recently since Japan saw an increasing number of Chinese coast guard and other government ships sailing near the disputed islets of Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

The ties also got strained when Japan urged China to adhere to an international court's ruling that rejected Beijing's vast territorial claims. But China warned Tokyo not to interfere in the matter.