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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


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International Insight: the prospects of a trilateral summit among Japan, China, and South Korea

Sindhuja Pannuri
From Europe to Asia, South America to Africa, and all the way to Australia, Wingspan staff reporter Sindhuja Pannuri provides her insight on international events in this weekly blog.

Top diplomats from Japan, China, and South Korea recently engaged in high-stakes talks to address long standing issues and pave the way for a trilateral summit. The meetings, held in South Korea’s southern port city of Busan, focused on resolving disputes, particularly China’s ban on Japanese seafood, and explored avenues for increased cooperation in security, economics, and other areas. While the diplomatic engagement is seen as a positive step, numerous challenges persist.

Former Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihiko Noda, attended the 5th Japan-China-Korea Summit held in Beijing in 2012. The hope is that a summit such as this will once again take place. (首相官邸ホームページ, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Dispute over Fukushima Nuclear Water Release:

One of the central issues discussed during the talks was China’s ban on Japanese seafood, implemented in response to Japan’s discharge of treated radioactive wastewater into the sea from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Japan maintains that the wastewater adheres to international safety standards, as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency. However, China labels it as “nuclear-contaminated water” and advocates for an independent monitoring mechanism to oversee the release.

Building Cooperative Partnerships:

Both Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa of Japan and her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, expressed a desire to establish a cooperative partnership rather than viewing each other as threats. Wang emphasized the importance of peaceful development and urged the nations to work together.

The trilateral talks involving Japan, China, and South Korea, which have been on hold since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and complicated relations, showed signs of revival. While the foreign ministers agreed to resume the trilateral summit at the earliest convenient time, a specific timeframe for the meeting was not provided. The lack of a set date suggests that the summit might not take place this year.

Historical Disputes and Economic Ties:

The relationships among Japan, China, and South Korea are complex and have been strained by historical disputes, such as Japan’s wartime atrocities and its colonization of the Korean Peninsula. Additionally, regional security concerns, including North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, have played a role in shaping the dynamics of their interactions. The recent court order in South Korea demanding financial compensation from Japan for wartime abuses adds another layer of complexity to their relations.

Despite historical and political challenges, the economic interdependence among Japan, China, and South Korea is significant. Together, they account for about 25% of the global GDP. The ministers discussed plans to enhance cooperation in various areas, including people-to-people exchanges, trade, technology, public health, sustainable development, and security.

The recent talks between Japan, China, and South Korea demonstrate a willingness to address historical issues and rekindle regional cooperation. The potential resumption of a trilateral summit holds promise for stability and cooperation in East Asia, but the path forward remains complex.

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About the Contributor
Sindhuja Pannuri, Staff Reporter
Sindhuja (Sindhu) Pannuri is a senior entering her second year of Wingspan staff. At school, she is captain of the varsity debate team and President of Youth and Government. In her free time, she reads books to escape reality and enjoys boxing in the ring. She’s so excited for what this year will hold!

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