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Top diplomats from Japan, China meet in South Korea ahead of three-way regional talks

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TOKYO– Top diplomats from Japan and China met on Saturday for bilateral talks to try to resolve disputes, including China’s ban on Japanese seafood, which has hit Japanese exporters.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi met in Busan, a southern port city of South Korea. They will join their host, Park Jin, for three-way chats on Sunday.

Kamikawa, who took office in September and met Wang in person for the first time, said their meeting was “extremely meaningful.” She said they agreed to begin meetings on security and the economy, but gave no details.

Japanese and Chinese leaders met ten days ago in San Francisco, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, and reached a vague agreement on easing the seafood dispute. he Chinese ban on Japanese seafood has been in effect since the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant began discharging treated radioactive wastewater into the sea.

Japan says the wastewater is much safer than international standards and that the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded that the environmental and health impact of discharging it is negligible. China calls this release “water contaminated by nuclear weapons.”

Wang said China opposed Japan’s “irresponsible action” of discharging sewage into the sea, according to a report of the meeting by China’s Foreign Ministry. He called for an independent monitoring mechanism for wastewater discharge.

Wang said China and Japan should establish that they “are cooperative partners rather than threats to each other, and should be committed to peaceful development.”

The foreign ministers of Japan, South Korea and China will meet on Sunday to set the stage for the resumption of their leaders’ trilateral summit, which has not taken place since 2019 due to the coronavirus outbreak. COVID-19 and their complicated relationships.

Japan, South Korea and China are close economic and cultural partners, but their relations have suffered intermittent setbacks due to a range of issues, including war atrocities by Japan, interstate rivalry -United States and China and North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic programs.

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Associated Press journalist Simina Mistreanu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

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