China has proposed to the United States and Japan that the three nations hold regular high-level talks on matters such as North Korea, energy strategies and the environment, the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.
The proposal, which was made last year, calls for talks between vice ministers and senior bureaucrats, and possibly also between heads of state and foreign ministers, the paper said.
At present, a framework exists for Japan-US, Japan-China and US-China talks but not three-way discussions.
Tokyo is considering the proposal, while analysing China's motives, the paper said.
South Korea has expressed alarm at being excluded from potential discussions on North Asia security, which has led the United States to take a cautious view of the proposal, it added.
China's rapid economic growth has given it increasing influence in the region and the report comes as US officials meet counterparts in Australia, seeking an assessment of China's clout and military build-up.
Relations between Japan and China are sensitive at the best of times, dogged by bitter wartime memories in China and present-day military and economic rivalry.
But ties have improved ever since an ice-breaking visit to Beijing in 2006 by then-prime minister Shinzo Abe. (Reuters)
China seeks three-way talks with US and Japan: report