South Korea is trying to set a schedule for a yearly trilateral summit with Japan and China, Cheong Wa Dae confirmed Monday amid a deepening confrontation between Seoul and Tokyo.
The latest summit was held in Tokyo in May last year among President Moon Jae-in, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
The 2019 summit has not been held yet, for which China is supposed to serve as the rotating chair.
Arrangements are reportedly being made to open the summit in Beijing in December.
It's a "regular summit that the three nations have held and consultations are underway on the timing" of this year's session, a Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters.
If held, it would provide a chance for Moon and Abe to meet again. Relations between their neighboring countries are said to be at the lowest ebb since they normalized diplomatic ties in 1965.
South Koreans are upset about Japan's export restrictions in apparent retaliation for historical issues. Last week, Tokyo dropped Seoul from the "whitelist" of more than two dozen trusted buyers of strategically sensitive materials.
The Moon administration is even considering abandoning an accord with Japan to exchange military information, the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).
The Cheong Wa Dae official said scrapping the agreement is among the options reviewed.
However, renegotiating the controversial 1965 treaty itself is not an option formally considered by the government, while some politicians may raise the need to do so, the official added.
Japan claims it has provided South Korea with all necessary compensation for the 1910-45 colonization of Korea under the deal.
On Seoul's potential role in bolstering maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz, the official noted that many South Korean ships use it.
"(The government) will make a final decision with a top priority on what's the best from the perspective of national interest," the official said. (Yonhap)