China on Monday called for enhancing communication and exchanges with Japan and South Korea to build momentum for a trilateral summit and other high-level meetings in a friendly overture to the two neighbors who have been boosting ties with the United States.

China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, said at the opening of a forum meeting on trilateral cooperation held in the eastern port city of Qingdao that the three countries should "create an atmosphere for the early resumption of leaders' meetings" and "move forward hand in hand" to "make greater contributions to the revitalization of Asia."

Wang Yi (4th from L, front row), China's top diplomat, and other participants of a forum meeting on cooperation among China, Japan and South Korea pose for a photo in Qingdao, China, on July 3, 2023. (Kyodo)

Amid intensifying China-U.S. rivalry, Wang said the three countries must "oppose the introduction of geopolitical conflicts and bloc confrontations into the region."

The three Asian neighbors have been aiming to hold a three-way summit possibly later this year for the first time since December 2019. Trilateral leaders' meetings have not been held in recent years amid the COVID-19 pandemic and strained Japan-South Korea ties over a wartime labor dispute.

Commenting on Japan's plan to shortly start releasing treated radioactive water into the sea from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, Wang said it "must be handled carefully with in-depth coordination with neighboring countries," as it concerns the marine ecological environment and the safety of people's lives.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said in a video message to the forum that he hopes the meeting will lead to deeper trilateral cooperation.

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin said online that Seoul is ready to work toward revitalizing intergovernmental talks between the three countries.