SEOUL, South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday for a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang that is widely expected to focus on the countries' joint efforts to rid North Korea of its nuclear ambitions.
The three-way talks follow Moon's historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un late last month, in which the leaders of the divided Koreas agreed to pursue complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Moon's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae earlier said the three leaders of South Korea, Japan and China may issue a joint statement supporting the outcome of the April 27 inter-Korean summit held at the border village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas.
"Cheong Wa Dae is pushing for a special statement of the leaders supporting the Panmunjom Declaration," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom has said, adding the Seoul-drafted statement, if adopted, will state the leaders' full support for the inter-Korean agreement, which also calls for efforts to formally end the Korean War.
Seoul and Pyongyang technically remain at war as the 1950-53 war ended only with an armistice. China is one of four signatories to the Korean armistice, along with the United States and the two Koreas, while Moon says improved ties between Japan and North Korea are also critical to ensuring lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the Northeast Asian region.
Wednesday's meeting also follows the North Korean leader's trip this week to China's Dalian, where he held a second bilateral summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in just about a month.
Moon was set to hold bilateral talks with Li later in the day, where he will likely be briefed on the outcome of the latest Kim-Xi meeting, Cheong Wa Dae officials noted.
He will also hold a bilateral summit with the Japanese prime minister, the sixth of its kind since Moon took office one year ago Thursday.
Still, Moon's trip marked the first trip to Japan by a South Korean leader since December 2011.
The three-way meeting also marked a resumption of the summit diplomacy between the three nations that has been stalled since late 2015.
Both Seoul and Beijing have been reluctant to resume their summits with the Japanese leader amid what they believe to be Tokyo's attempt to whitewash its war atrocities and colonial rule of its Asian neighbors, including Korea.
Moon will return home later in the day.
Source: Yonhap News Agency