Japan, China and South Korea are set to hold a meeting of senior officials next week in Seoul, the Japanese and South Korean governments said Tuesday, in a move that could lead to a first trilateral summit between the nations in four years.

Japanese Senior Deputy Foreign Minister Takehiro Funakoshi, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong and South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Chung Byung Won will attend the talks on Sept. 26, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The officials are expected to hold discussions aimed at "revitalization" of the trilateral process, the ministry said.

China's top diplomat Wang Yi proposed the three-way vice-foreign ministerial-level talks when he met with former Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Jakarta in mid-July, according to diplomatic sources.

Tokyo sees the proposal as a reflection of Beijing's enthusiasm for holding a joint summit with its two neighbors by the end of this year, the sources said earlier. The last trilateral summit was held in December 2019.

Usually, a summit between the three countries follows working-level discussions and foreign ministerial-level talks. South Korea will take the rotating chair of the next trilateral summit.

While the coronavirus pandemic contributed to the failure to hold the summit in recent years, the Tokyo-Seoul relationship, soured over wartime issues, was also a factor. But bilateral ties have been improving rapidly since South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol took office in May last year.

Relations between Tokyo and Beijing, however, have become further strained since Japan started releasing treated radioactive wastewater from the crippled Fukushima nuclear complex into the sea in late August. Beijing has strongly opposed the water discharge.

Related coverage:

Top Japan, U.S. diplomats affirm need for peace across Taiwan Strait

Japan PM heads to N.Y. for speech at U.N. amid shaken global order

China checks seawater loaded on Japan ships amid row over Fukushima