The big buzz in Asia has been the forthcoming East Asia trilateral summit that looks to be taking place in Seoul, South Korea this weekend. That, in and of itself, is a huge deal, as it’s the first time in years the heads of the three nations have met – and it would be the first formal sit-down between Park, Xi, and Abe.
Then news surfaced that it appeared there would be a pair of bilateral meetings on November 2 with Abe meeting with Xi and Park independently. However, that may not be the case.
Tokyo reports that Abe hasn’t accepted Parks offer for bilateral summit, with some suggesting the “comfort women” issue being the sticking point. Park in the past has said she would be unwilling to meet with Abe, unless he apologizes for Japan’s wrong doing, and its unclear if that’s a condition for the meeting.
Park has been softening her stance on Abe in recent months, which is why we’re seeing this trilateral meeting now; however, agreeing to meet with Abe, in Seoul, without an apology might be too big of a political price to pay given the furor over his perceived lack of contrition Abe gave in August.