Most papers wrote that Japan, China, and South Korea are making arrangements for their foreign ministers to hold talks on Aug. 23-24 in Tokyo. Foreign Minister Kishida plans to hold separate bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang and ROK counterpart Yun, and arrangements are also being made for the top Chinese and South Korean diplomats to meet with Prime Minister Abe on the sidelines. The visit to Japan by Wang will be the first by a Chinese foreign minister under the Xi administration.
Although it had appeared difficult for the three nations to hold a trilateral meeting in late August as planned due to deteriorating relations between Tokyo and Beijing over Chinese government ships’ sailing in Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands, Tokyo and Beijing eventually agreed to hold the talks. Asahi speculated that the Japan Coast Guard’s rescue of Chinese fishermen near the Senkakus on Aug. 11 prompted Beijing to adopt a positive stance on the trilateral ministerial. Nikkei wrote that Beijing began to hold serious discussions with Tokyo after it confirmed on Aug. 15 that both Prime Minister Abe and Defense Minister Inada had not visited Yasukuni Shrine. The papers also conjectured that China is seeking Japan’s cooperation in making the G20 summit to be held in Hangzhou in September a success. According to Mainichi, the foreign ministers plan to discuss cooperation on such issues as North Korea, the economy, and counterterrorism measures.