China, South Korea top diplomats agree to 3-way talks with Japan

The foreign ministers of China and South Korea have agreed to cooperate in resuming trilateral consultations among Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul.

Wang Yi and Park Jin held telephone talks on Thursday.

China's Foreign Ministry cited Wang as saying China and South Korea should keep their friendly cooperation on track and guard against external interference. This statement appears to allude to Seoul's increased security partnership with the United States.

The ministry said Wang expressed his support for Seoul's constructive role in promoting trilateral cooperation among China, Japan and South Korea.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry said the two sides agreed to closely work together to resume a trilateral consultative body. South Korea is this year's chair of the three-way framework.

The leaders of the three countries have not held summit talks since December 2019 due to strained relations between Japan and South Korea, the coronavirus pandemic and other factors.

On Tuesday, the South Korean ambassador to the United States suggested that a trilateral summit could be held by the end of the year.

However, tensions have been rising between Japan and China over the discharge of treated and diluted water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The plant suffered a triple meltdown in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Water used to cool molten fuel at the plant has been mixing with rain and groundwater.

The accumulated water is treated to remove most radioactive substances, but still contains tritium. Before releasing the treated water into the sea, the plant's operator dilutes it to reduce tritium levels to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization's guidelines for drinking water.

Following the start of this discharge last week, China suspended all imports of Japanese seafood. Some public and other facilities in Japan have received many harassing phone calls from China.