Leaders of the three regional powers, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are set to have a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held in Vladivostok from Tuesday. The three-day forum will provide a venue for the three strongmen to get together, except for U.S. President Donald Trump, and their summits are being closely watched since the three countries are at odds with Washington over at least one of the issues spanning trade, North Korea’s denuclearization, and economic sanctions.
President Putin met with Prime Minister Abe on Monday, and discussed the two countries’ economic cooperation, signing of a peace treaty, territories in the northern region, and the North’s denuclearization. On Tuesday, Putin is scheduled to sit face to face with President Xi, who attends the EEF for the first time since it started in 2015. Until last year, Xi had sent the vice-premier or vice-chairperson of the National People’s Congress to the forum. Beijing’s state-run media reported that with President Xi’s participation in the EEF, the overall strategic cooperation partnership between China and Russia has been taken to a higher level. Japan is also planning to hold a summit between Abe and Xi on Wednesday.
Since 2015, Russia has hosted the EEF every September to attract investment for developing the Far Eastern region and promote economic cooperation with other countries in the region. This year’s edition held under the theme of “The Russian Far East: Expanding the Range of Possibilities” will be attended by some 6,000 heads of state, business people, and academics including South Korea’s Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon. Lee is set to meet with Prime Minister Abe and Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga on Tuesday, and President Putin on Wednesday.
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