China: high-level meeting with Japan and South Korea postponed

China said Sunday an annual leaders' meeting with Japan and South Korea scheduled for this month will be postponed because of "the current atmosphere" an apparent reference to Japanese leaders' repeated visits to a controversial war shrine.

Leaders of the three countries meet once a year on the sidelines of a meeting between their countries and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, scheduled to take place this year from Dec. 12-14 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The three-way leaders' meeting will be rescheduled "at a proper date," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its Web site without elaborating.

It didn't give a reason, but Beijing has reacted with fury to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to a Tokyo shrine that honors convicted Japanese war criminals among the 2.5 million war dead deified there.

China "hopes the three sides cooperate to limit obstacles and develop in a stable manner," the ministry statement said, reported AP. P.T.

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