Park vows efforts for summit with China and Japan

SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) — President Park Geun-hye said Monday that South Korea will make efforts to hold a summit with China and Japan, the latest move that underscores her commitment to advancing ties with the two Asian neighbors.

The remarks came three weeks after she suggested there are uncertainties over a potential summit with Chinese and Japanese leaders.

“The South Korean government will make efforts to ensure a trilateral summit can take place based on the meeting of their foreign ministers in the near future,” Park said in a keynote speech at the World Policy Conference, an annual international meeting, in Seoul.

In November, she floated the idea of resuming a regular trilateral summit, which has been put on hold since May 2012 due to tensions between South Korea and Japan and between China and Japan over territorial and other history-related issues.

Japan controlled much of China in the early part of the 20th century.

South Korea has said a trilateral summit might be held if the countries successfully conclude their foreign ministers’ meeting and conditions mature.

It remains unclear whether South Korea and Japan can make any progress in addressing the issue of elderly Korean women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japan’s World War II soldiers.

Korean sex slaves, commonly called “comfort women,” have been one of the knottiest issues stemming from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Also Monday, Park pressed North Korea again to abandon its nuclear weapons program, calling it “the biggest destabilizing factor” not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in Northeast Asia.

Despite international pressure, North Korea has repeatedly vowed to develop its economy and nuclear arsenal in tandem, viewing its nuclear programs as a powerful deterrent against what it claims is Washington’s hostile policy toward it.

Park said North Korea’s policy is “incompatible” and accused North Korea of worsening the human rights situation in the North.