12 November 2015
After more than a three-year hiatus, the Trilateral Summit between China, Japan and South Korea has finally been revived. Although it was largely symbolic, lacking major breakthroughs, the seeming thaw in relations between the three neighbours is a welcome, albeit temporary, respite from the tensions in the region.
On November 1, 2015, China, Japan, and South Korea held their sixth Trilateral Summit in Seoul, attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and South Korean President Park Geun-hye. This was the first, and much anticipated, meeting between the three Northeast Asian neighbours since 2012, following which relations deteriorated over territorial and historical disputes.
Although it did not result in major breakthroughs, the revival of an annual summit signals at least a degree of political will of the leaders to discuss issues and mitigate conflicts in a peaceful manner. It also continues the trend of warming relations among the three countries. Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met twice on the sidelines of international summits in April and last November. Furthermore, Beijing and Seoul showed considerable restraint in their responses to Abe’s statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, even though it did not meet their demands.
… Tan Ming Hui is an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre for Multilateralism Studies (CMS) and Henrick Z. Tsjeng is an Associate Research Fellow with the Regional Security Architecture Programme at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
CMS / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 13/11/2015