Top Diplomats From Japan And China Meet In South Korea Ahead Of 3-way Regional Talks

TOKYO (AP) -- Top diplomats from Japan and China met for bilateral talks Saturday as they try to resolve disputes including China's ban on Japanese seafood that has badly hit Japanese exporters.

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

Kamikawa, who took office in September and met with Wang in person for the first time, said their meeting was "extremely meaningful." She said they had agreed to start security and economic meetings, but gave no details.

The Japanese and Chinese leaders met 10 days ago in San Francisco, on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and achieved a vague agreement on easing a dispute over China's ban on Japanese seafood that has been in place since the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant began discharging treated radioactive wastewater into the sea on Aug. 24.

Japan says the wastewater is much safer than international standards and that the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded the environmental and health impact of its release is negligible. China calls the discharge "nuclear-contaminated water."

The foreign ministers from Japan, South Korea and China are meeting Sunday to set the stage for resuming a trilateral summit of their leaders, which has not been held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 outbreak and their complicated ties.

Japan, South Korea and China are close economic and cultural partners, but their relationships have suffered on-and-off setbacks due to a mix of issues including Japan's wartime atrocities, the U.S.-China rivalry and North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.