Nov 13, 2012

South Korea - Trilateral summit with Beijing, Tokyo unlikely at ASEAN meeting

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SEOUL, Nov. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is unlikely to hold a trilateral summit with China and Japan on the sidelines of an upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Cambodia next week, Seoul's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

   It will be the first time the three nations have skipped a three-way summit at the annual ASEAN meeting since 1999, ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said, as relations among three of Asia's largest economies remain under severe strain over territorial rows.

   "No agreement has been reached among the three nations to hold a Korea-China-Japan summit on the sidelines of the upcoming ASEAN meeting," Cho said. "At this point, there is no plan to hold a summit."

   A senior ministry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said China, which was due to have hosted the next trilateral summit, has not proposed such a summit at the Cambodia meeting.

   Leaders from ASEAN and other Asian nations, as well as the United States, Russia and India will join the ASEAN meeting and the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh next week.

   Relations between Seoul and Tokyo remain tense after Tokyo's renewed claims to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo. Tokyo and Beijing have separately been at odds over the ownership of a group of islets in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

   Cho also ruled out the possibility of holding a bilateral summit between President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda during the Cambodia meeting, saying South Korea has yet to receive an "official proposal" to hold such a meeting from Japan.

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