Chinese, Japanese and South Korean leaders will discuss a potential free-trade deal and tensions over the North Korean nuclear issue after they will meet in southern China next week, according to officials on Thursday.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will host South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the meeting in Chengdu on Tuesday.

During a news briefing, Luo Zhaohui said that the visiting leaders will also hold separate talks with President Xi Jinping.

The meeting of regional powers comes as tensions have risen between Washington and Pyongyang after North Korea carried out a series of rocket launches.

Nuclear talks between the North and the United States have been largely stalled since the collapse of a February summit in Hanoi between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Tuesday’s summit will aim to “have a constructive effect on achieving peace and stability on the Korean peninsula”, Luo said, adding however that the leaders would not be discussing the proposed UN resolution.

There are also tensions between Japan and South Korea, as their ties have deteriorated over Tokyo’s use of forced labour during World War II.

In November, North Korea launched two “unidentified projectiles” on the Thanksgiving holiday in the US — as nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington remain deadlocked.

Earlier, North Korea had carried out a “successful” new test of its “super-larger multiple rocket launcher” system, the latest in a series of provocations by Pyongyang.

In August this year, North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles into the East Sea.

North Korea is under multiple sets of international sanctions over its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes and lifting some of them was a key demand at the Hanoi summit.

North Korea repeatedly has issued warnings against the combined military exercise between South Korea and the US, threatening that it would seek “a new way” rather than engagement if Seoul goes ahead with such a rehearsal for invasion.

(With inputs from AFP)