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East Asia's Leaders Search for Common Ground

Sep 19, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
East Asia's Leaders Search for Common Ground
The 2015 meeting among Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (l), South Korean President Park Geun Hye (c) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang marked the first high-level talks among the three East Asian powers in three years.
(South Korean Blue House/Getty Images)

After a spate of preparatory meetings in recent weeks, China, Japan and South Korea appear increasingly likely to hold a leaders' summit in Tokyo toward the end of the year. If convened, the summit would be the second of its kind since trilateral talks resumed in late 2015. (Territorial disputes in the East China Sea prompted China and Japan to suspend the summit in 2012.) The three countries are unlikely to make much headway on the region's most important issues during the summit, but then again, that is not necessarily its primary purpose. Rather, the meeting's significance -- at least for now -- lies in the fact that it exists at all. What matters most to all three states, albeit for different reasons, is that they have a stable, institutionalized mechanism in place to communicate and cooperate with one another, regardless of how limited it might be in practice....

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