South Korea proposed hosting a trilateral summit with Japan and China in December, the first in four years, during a meeting of the three countries' senior officials held in Seoul on Tuesday, according to diplomatic sources.

Seoul also suggested that a joint declaration be issued following the planned summit, with neither Tokyo nor Beijing opposing the proposals, according to the sources.

The annual three-way summit has been suspended since December 2019.

Photo shows a meeting of senior officials of South Korea, China and Japan held in Seoul on Sept. 26, 2023. (Kyodo)

The hiatus was partly due to a low ebb in relations between Japan and South Korea over wartime issues, but the two countries have made dramatic progress in mending ties this year. They held a three-way summit with the United States in mid-August.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry, in a statement, said the senior officials agreed to hold the trilateral summit at the earliest possible time and to continue discussions about the timing.

They also agreed that their meeting has offered a chance to resume trilateral cooperation and discuss the revival of the annual summit following the hiatus due also to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the ministry.

The foreign ministries of South Korea, Japan and China said the three nations' top diplomats will be meeting in a few months as part of preparations for the planned summit.

South Korea, the current chair of the three countries' cooperation mechanism, did not mention which South Korean city will host the summit.

Tuesday's meeting was participated in by South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Chung Byung Won, Japanese Senior Deputy Foreign Minister Takehiro Funakoshi and Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong.

Last Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing welcomes the holding of the trilateral summit at an appropriate time, during a meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck Soo on the sidelines of the Asian Games being held in China's Hangzhou, Yonhap News Agency reported.