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Yoon voices hope to resume S. Korea-China-Japan summit for regional peace

All News 22:37 March 27, 2023

SEOUL, March 27 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol expressed his hope Monday to resume stalled trilateral summit diplomacy with China and Japan for regional peace, his spokesperson said, amid a thaw in Seoul-Tokyo relations long strained over history.

Yoon made the remarks during a dinner meeting with the chiefs of overseas South Korean missions at the former presidential complex, Cheong Wa Dae, in Seoul, according to a written press briefing by Lee Do-woon.

His remarks raised expectations that South Korea, currently the rotating chair of the trilateral summit, could push for the resumption of the summit with the neighboring countries as early as this year.

President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a dinner meeting with the chiefs of South Korea's overseas diplomatic missions at the former presidential complex, Cheong Wa Dae, in Seoul on March 27, 2023, in this photo released by the presidential office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a dinner meeting with the chiefs of South Korea's overseas diplomatic missions at the former presidential complex, Cheong Wa Dae, in Seoul on March 27, 2023, in this photo released by the presidential office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The three countries had held eight rounds of three-way summit talks since their first gathering in December 2018. Since their last summit in December 2019, tripartite gatherings have not been held amid historical feuds between Seoul and Tokyo, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dinner session, the first of its kind since Yoon's inauguration last May, brought together more than 160 senior diplomats, including ambassadors and consuls general. Rep. Kim Tae-ho, the chair of the National Assembly's committee on foreign affairs and unification, was also present.

Yoon stressed the importance of the missions undertaken by those "on the front lines of diplomacy."

"Now is the time when we have to marshal all of our diplomatic capabilities to create a breakthrough for the Republic of Korea to overcome the polycrisis," Yoon was quoted as saying.

Touching on his administration's push to reinforce the South Korea-U.S. alliance and improve relations with Japan, the president pointed out it has been focusing its diplomatic efforts to strengthen the "solidarity of freedom."

He also called on the diplomats to do their best to support South Korea's bid to host the 2030 World Expo in the southern port city of Busan.
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