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

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

COVID and wartime labor row cloud prospects for meeting in Seoul

TOKYO — Japan, China and South Korea will postpone a planned trilateral summit until next year, amid the coronavirus pandemic and a simmering confrontation between Tokyo and Seoul over wartime labor, Nikkei has learned.

It is South Korea’s turn to host the meeting. But Japan is taking the position that it would be difficult for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to visit unless Seoul offers some assurance that assets of Japanese companies will not be seized over their use of Korean workers during World War II.

At the same time, South Korea and Japan are also dealing with recent increases in COVID-19 cases.

South Korea had called on Japan and China to hold the meeting by the end of this year. But it has not offered a specific schedule or agenda, and a senior Japanese government official told Nikkei on condition of anonymity that “it is no longer possible to hold this event within the year.”

Now Seoul is expected to push for a date early in 2021.