Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced that he will hold a one-on-one meeting with President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of a trilateral summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in China. This is an unusual move as schedules for summit meetings are usually announced simultaneously by both leaders according to custom. The presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae said that the two sides are in the process of arranging the leaders’ schedule, but did not deny that the leaders will meet in China.
According to Japanese media reports, Prime Minister Abe said during a lecture in Tokyo on Friday that he will attend a three-way summit in Chengdu on Christmas Eve and also meet with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, adding that he will sit down with President Moon Jae-in. The trilateral summit will be held in Chengdu from next Monday to Tuesday with President Moon, Prime Minister Abe, and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon in attendance. Seoul and Tokyo are coordinating plans to hold separate bilateral talks with President Xi ahead of the three-way meeting.
Observers analyze the unusual announcement of Abe as related to domestic politics within Japan. Recently, the Japanese prime minister has faced criticism over the so-called cherry blossom scandal in which he is accused of having invited his supporters to a publicly funded party. Meanwhile, Cheong Wa Dae plans to discuss Japan’s trade restrictions on South Korean high-tech materials and the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) at the upcoming bilateral summit between the two countries.
Sang-Jun Han firstname.lastname@example.org