Tokyo and Seoul should think big: China Daily editorial
Japan has reportedly approved shipments of a high-tech material to the Republic of Korea for the second time since imposing export curbs last month ahead of a meeting between Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his ROK counterpart Kang Kyung-wha in Beijing on Wednesday.
The move is being viewed as a positive sign ahead of their talks on Wednesday in which their Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, is expected to mediate. There are hopes that with Beijing's mediation, Tokyo and Seoul will be able to ease their current trade frictions.
In fact, the resumption of trilateral foreign ministers' meeting alone, the first such trilateral gathering in three years, shows the three countries still have a strong political will to strengthen cooperation at the trilateral level even while they may have disputes at the bilateral level.
Seoul regards the export curbs as retaliation over its compensation demands for wartime forced labor, while Tokyo has cited security reasons, claiming some ROK companies were providing sensitive materials to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Given the complexity of the historical issues and geopolitics in Northeast Asia, it is not surprising that relations among the three countries should have their ups and downs.
However, having been through all these difficulties and made concerted efforts to mend fences, the three countries now have a better understanding of each other's core interests and major concerns.
As close neighbors, they should not lose sight of the larger picture of multilateral cooperation and not allow bilateral disputes to jeopardize the regional integration efforts, which are due to culminate this year with the completion of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Welcoming his two guests separately on Tuesday, Wang urged them to resolve their current divergences and for the three countries to strengthen their pragmatic cooperation to secure a political solution to the Korean Peninsula issue and uphold multilateralism.
Since China, Japan and the ROK have the pressing task of spearheading regional cooperation, it is to be hoped the leading diplomats from the three countries can consolidate mutual trust and send a positive signal of deepening cooperation in their trilateral meeting in Beijing.