Bilateral talks held ahead of Japan, China, S.Korea summit

Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has held separate talks with leaders from China and South Korea in Seoul.

Sunday's meetings came a day before the first trilateral summit of the Asian neighbors in more than four years.

Kishida first met South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol. They agreed to further improve the two countries' ties before marking 60 years of diplomatic relations in 2025.

Yoon said, "I hope to work with Prime Minister Kishida to prepare for next year so that it will become a historic turning point to further advance bilateral relations."

Kishida said: "The international community is at a historic turning point. Japan wants to further strengthen ties with South Korea to maintain and strengthen a free and open Indo-Pacific and effectively deal with global issues."

The leaders also discussed North Korea. The country has been stepping up its nuclear and missile development.

Kishida later said they had agreed to work closely together with the United States to address this issue.

Kishida also had a one-on-one meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang.

Kishida said, "I am convinced that stabilizing Japan-China relations will be beneficial for the two countries as well as the region and the international community."

Li said, "I hope we can control the differences in opinions and make efforts to build constructive, stable relations that meet the demands of the new era."

The pair reaffirmed they will promote their "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests." That's what Kishida agreed with President Xi Jinping last November.

The prime minister also urged China to immediately end its suspension of Japanese seafood imports.

Kishida said he had called on China to peacefully resolve issues with Taiwan through dialogue.

China launched a major military exercise around Taiwan on Thursday... just days after Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te took office.

The three leaders appear likely to confirm further cultural, economic and tourism cooperation at Monday's summit. They are expected to release a joint statement summarizing their talks.