Japan, China and South Korea to delay trilateral summit to 2021

Japan, China and South Korea to delay trilateral summit to 2021

Exclusive: Wartime labor row clouds prospects for Suga visit to Seoul

TOKYO — Japan, China and South Korea will postpone a planned trilateral summit until next year because of simmering tensions between Tokyo and Seoul over wartime labor, Nikkei has learned.

South Korea was supposed to host the meeting this year. But Seoul has not offered a specific schedule or agenda, and is now expected to seek a date early in 2021.

Japan maintains that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga cannot visit South Korea unless Seoul offers some assurance that assets of Japanese companies will not be seized over their use of Korean workers during World War II.

A senior Japanese government official told Nikkei on condition of anonymity that “it is no longer possible to hold the summit this year.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in sees the trilateral summit as a way to warm his country’s ties with Japan. But Suga has been reluctant to meet given recent developments over the wartime labor issue.