Japan, China and South Korea discuss three-way meeting in Lima

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso.
Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan, China and South Korea are discussing a possible trilateral meeting of their finance ministers in Peru this week, Finance Minister Taro Aso said, which could pave the way for a summit among the countries to soothe strained relations.

Mr Aso also said he would hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Lou Jiwei on the sidelines of a meeting of Group of 20 (G-20) finance leaders to be held in Lima this week.

"(The two countries) will discuss macro-finance, the economy and financial cooperation," he told a news conference on Tuesday (Oct 6).

Mr Aso on Friday (Oct 2) called for China to make its economic management more transparent in order to help the yuan become a global currency.

Mr Aso said he will tell his G-20 counterparts that Japan's economy continues to recover moderately, despite growing signs it may have slipped into recession again.

"Japan's economic fundamentals are not bad at all," said Mr Aso, who will travel to Lima for the G-20 and IMF meetings.

Japan's economy contracted in April-June and is expected to have barely grown or even shrunk again in July-September as slumping demand in China weighs on already sluggish exports and factory output.

The BOJ is under pressure to deploy further stimulus to spur growth, though it is seen holding off on action at its rate review this week on hope that a tightening job market will gradually lift wages and consumption.

Asked whether the BOJ ought to ease policy at its rate review this week, Mr Aso said: "Answering that will be tantamount to intervening in monetary policy affairs, which I won't do."

If a trilateral finance ministerial meeting were to be held, it will be the first such talks since May, when financial leaders from the three countries gathered in the sidelines of an Asian Development Bank annual meeting.

While discussions will likely focus on financial cooperation and economic developments, the meeting could lay the grounds for a possible trilateral summit later this year.

Japanese media have reported that China, Japan and South Korea are considering holding their first summit in three years, sometime around November.