China hosts the leaders of squabbling neighbours South Korea and Japan on Tuesday, flexing its diplomatic muscle with America's two key military allies in Asia and seeking regional unity on how to deal with a belligerent North Korea.
The Japanese government has reversed curbs on exports of photoresists to South Korea, one of three technology materials which it had restricted since July, a Trade Ministry official said on Friday.
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The relationship between Japan and South Korea is overshadowed by the 35 years of brutal colonization by the Japanese, including the use of sex slaves and forced labor, which still suffers today.
The United States pursued the maximum pressure campaign before the start of summit diplomacy between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un previous year.
Plus, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations earlier this month declared that denuclearisation was off the table and that talks with the U.S. were no longer needed.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in told Chinese leader Xi Jinping that while the sides may have felt "disappointed toward each other for a while", their shared culture and history prevented them from becoming completely estranged.
Moscow is also voicing increased concern over potential USA deployment of intermediate-range missiles in either South Korea or Japan, Kyodo News reported Monday.
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Under pressure from the USA, however, South Korea last month suspended its plan to withdraw from a military information-sharing pact with Japan.
"Both economies now face downward pressure and require vitality from outside to shore up growth", Zhou said, adding that closer bilateral trade relations and investment cooperation will offer the two countries more leeway amid the sluggish global economy.
"Considering the recent difficulties in bilateral relations, holding the meeting itself has a large meaning", Kim Hyun-chong, deputy chief of South Korea's presidential National Security Office, said in a briefing in Seoul.
He said that as a responsible country, China has always included its own development in the development of the world.
President Moon Jae-in and PM Shinzo Abe held talks as part of a group summit with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in the Chinese city of Chengdu. Therefore, there is no option for the two countries but to collaborate.
Abe has put the onus on Moon to improve ties, saying Monday he would convey Tokyo's thinking on court judgments that found Japanese companies liable to compensate South Koreans forced to work in mines and factories during the colonial period.
Japan also considers China's growing maritime activity in regional seas and the upgrading of its military as a threat along with North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.
Another issue centers on the steps Tokyo and Beijing should take to build mutual trust to prevent serious conflict between China's moves to expand its presence in the region and the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" initiative promoted by Japan and the United States.