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Japan's new PM arrives in SKorea for summit

Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama arrived in South Korea on Friday on the first leg of his Asian tour, ahead of the Beijing trilateral summit the following day.

world Updated: Oct 09, 2009 07:55 IST

Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama arrived in South Korea on Friday on the first leg of his Asian tour, ahead of the Beijing trilateral summit the following day.

Hatoyama, who took office in mid-September, will meet President Lee Myung-Bak before they join Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing for the three-way talks.

The Seoul and Beijing summits are expected to focus on efforts to bring North Korea back to six-nation nuclear disarmament talks.

The North told Wen Monday it was willing to return to the talks it abandoned in April -- but only if it were first granted direct negotiations with the United States.

China hosts the talks, which also group the two Koreas, Japan, Russia and the United States.

During the Asian tour, which marks Hatoyama's debut on the regional stage, the Japanese prime minister is also expected to explain his centre-left government's diplomatic policy, which is seen as more conciliatory to its neighbours.

Japan's ties with South Korea and China had often been prickly under the conservative Liberal Democrats who had held power in Japan for half a century.

Hatoyama made his global debut last month in New York, where he met South Korea's Lee and Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.