İrem UZUN -TDO- Against a backdrop of North Korean threats, the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea will meet in the Chinese city of Chengdu on Tuesday. The milestone comes as Pyongyang undertakes "critical tests" at its Tongchang-ri missile launch site on the west coast, raising alarm after a shaky two-year detente. At the trilateral summit, the leaders are expected to discuss economic cooperation as well as the renewed tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping separately on Monday. Given North Korea’s impending end-of-the-year deadline for its negotiations with the US, Moon is likely to ask China to play a role as a mediator to help decrease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and Japan to rollback export controls and extend the scope of General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). Afterwards, they will then travel to the southwestern city of Chengdu for a trilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Though they are expected to discuss various economic matters, North Korea appears likely to dominate the agenda.
Pyongyang has grown increasingly frustrated that its halt of nuclear and long-range missile tests has not ended the crippling sanctions. It has set a deadline for the resumption of denuclearization talks by the end of this year and called on Washington to make concessions andlift economic sanctions. Pyongyang has threatened to give the U.S. a "Christmas gift" unless it responds favorably, but Washington has still been unmoved.