Leaders of Japan, China Eye Bilateral Talks in Seoul Next Week

The Japanese government is making arrangements to hold bilateral talks between Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese Premier Li Qiang on the sidelines of a trilateral summit between the leaders of Japan, South Korea and China in Seoul next week.

If the talks occur, Kishida and Li will have a bilateral meeting for the first time since they spoke, without sitting down, at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in September last year.

At a press conference on Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said, “Both sides will make efforts to build the Japan-China relationship in a constructive and stable manner.”

During the envisaged meeting, Kishida and Li are likely to discuss such issues as China’s ban on imports of Japanese marine products following the release of treated water into the sea from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Kishida is also expected to express concerns over Chinese military exercises near Taiwan.4

Japan-U.S.-ROK to hold joint drill

The Japan Coast Guard announced Thursday that Japan, the United States and South Korea will hold their first joint maritime drill off the coast of Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, on June 6.

As China is making aggressive maritime advances in the East and South China seas and other locations, the joint drill is intended to strengthen cooperation among the three countries in order to ensure maritime security.

The drill is expected to involve large patrol ships of the three countries’ coast guards, such as the U.S.’s USCGC Waesche. During the drill, the coast guards will jointly conduct search and rescue activities as well as relay information under the scenario that vessels have collided and a fire has broken out.

The patrol ships of the U.S. and South Korea and the JCG’s Wakasa vessel are scheduled to enter Maizuru Port before and after the drill to reinforce unity through mutual visits and other exchanges between the crew members.