JAPAN said yesterday that it was putting off this month's first three-nation summit with China and South Korea after Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's abrupt resignation.
But the government still hopes to welcome the leaders of China and South Korea later this year, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura told reporters.
"Preparation was under way to hold the summit between Japan, China and South Korea in September but it became impossible due to the state of the things in Japan," said Machimura, the government's spokesman.
"Since the summit is important, the government will continue to arrange a new date, keeping in mind the possibility of holding it in our country by the end of the year," Machimura said.
Fukuda, who proposed the three-way summit earlier this year, tried to repair relations with other Asian nations, which have been tense due to the legacy of Japanese imperialism.
He suddenly quit on Monday after failing to lift a rock-bottom approval rating.
Fukuda also worked to ease tension with North Korea, which agreed in June to start a new investigation into abductions of Japanese civilians - a major issue in Japan.
"I would presume they (North Korea) might take a break before taking any fresh step to resume the investigation into abducted citizens, using the change of leadership an excuse," a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
But Machimura denied Fukuda's resignation would affect the process with North Korea.
"There is no change in Japan's diplomatic principle that the abduction issue is one of the top priorities for whoever becomes prime minister," Machimura said.AFP
Thursday, September 4, 2008
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