SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The education ministers of South Korea, Japan and China on Saturday held the first three-way meeting among the countries that often spar over how their wartime past is described in textbooks.
History education wasn't on the agenda of the meeting where the ministers agreed to hold their gatherings annually and expand student exchanges and partnership programs between universities as well as elementary, middle and high schools. The second trilateral meeting will be held in Japan next year and the third in China in 2018, according to South Korea's Education Ministry.
Further discussions are needed for history issues to be taken up in future meetings, said Yoo Jiwan, a South Korean ministry official. South Korean Education Minister Joon Sik Lee said the beginning of the trilateral meetings would "plant the seeds of peace" between the Northeast Asian neighbors.
The countries have struggled to settle disputes stemming from Japan's brutal colonial rule of Korea in the early 20th century and its wartime aggression of China, and school books have often been part of such arguments.