Japan postpones summit with China, South Korea after impeachment woes of President Park

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said there are "various factors" behind the country's decision in postponing the summit with China and South Korea.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said there are "various factors" behind the country's decision in postponing the summit with China and South Korea.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan is postponing a summit with China and South Korea, the government said on Tuesday (Dec 13), after the impeachment of South Korean President President Park Geun Hye.

The Asian powers were planning to hold an annual trilateral gathering this month in Japan, which is the rotating chair.

South Korea's Parliament voted on Friday to impeach Ms Park, who is engulfed in a scandal over her friendship with a long-time confidante who has been charged with meddling in state affairs.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, while not directly mentioning Ms Park's impeachment, said "various factors" were behind the decision.

"We decided to re-arrange it and hold the summit at an appropriate time next year," he told reporters after a regular Cabinet meeting.

Ms Park has been relieved of official duties as president and is awaiting a decision by the country's Constitutional Court - a process that could take months - on whether she will have to permanently step down.

She has been replaced in the interim by Prime Minister Hwang Kyo Ahn.

Leaders of the three countries met in November last year in South Korea for the first time since 2012.

Summits had been on ice due largely to Tokyo's often thorny relations with Beijing and Seoul over territorial issues and history.