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Japan, S. Korea, US planning talks between top diplomats this week

President Joe Biden, center, meets with South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, during the NATO summit in Madrid, on June 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan, South Korea and the United States are arranging a meeting of their foreign ministers this week in Indonesia, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday, with North Korea expected to top the agenda.

    The trilateral talks may take place on the sidelines of a two-day Group of 20 foreign ministerial meeting starting Thursday on the Southeast Asian nation's resort island of Bali, according to the sources.

    The three-way gathering would bring Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken together for the first time with their South Korean counterpart Park Jin, who took the post in May under new leader Yoon Suk Yeol.

    The countries' leaders met on the fringes of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Madrid last week, the first such trilateral talks since 2017.

    The leaders agreed to bolster security cooperation over North Korean nuclear and missile threats amid speculation that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct its first nuclear test since 2017.

    The ministerial meeting is being planned as the change in South Korea's government is creating fresh momentum for improved bilateral ties between Tokyo and Seoul. Relations have soured in recent times over wartime issues and territorial disputes.

    In Bali, foreign ministers from the major developed and fast-growing economies will talk about shortages in food and energy as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, launched in late February, continues. Moscow's representative Sergey Lavrov is scheduled to join the gathering.

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