Rare trilateral summit: South Korea China Japan Trilateral Summit
Published: November 2, 2015
Rare trilateral summit: South Korea China Japan Trilateral Summit, South Korean president Park Geun-hye and Chinese and Japanese premiers Li Keqiang and Shinzo Abe discussed a wide range of topics, from free trade to the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, during a 90-minute meeting in Seoul.
No substantive breakthrough had been expected, with the meeting seen more as a symbolic statement of intent by North-East Asia’s three largest economies, who all stand to reap significant diplomatic and economic gains from closer ties.
“We shared the view that trilateral cooperation has been completely restored on the occasion of this summit,” they said in a lengthy joint statement after the meeting.
The three countries began holding annual summits in 2008, but the souring of Japan’s relations with its two neighbours over issues dating back to World War II triggered a lengthy hiatus after the last meeting in 2012.
The focus on Sunday was on economic ties, with China especially keen to strengthen trade links as it tries to inject fresh momentum into its slowing economy.
The joint statement included a commitment to sealing a trilateral free-trade agreement that would provide a counterpoint to the new US-led Pacific trade pact, of which China and South Korea are not members.
Also high on the agenda was North Korea, which has nuclear weapons ambitions which worry and threaten all three countries, including China, the North’s main diplomatic protector and economic benefactor.
The leaders reaffirmed their “firm opposition” to the development of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula as well as any action that could raise tensions or violate UN resolutions.
Pyongyang has recently hinted at a space rocket launch which would contravene a UN ban on its use of ballistic missile technology.
“It is our shared interest to maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, and we have to firmly maintain our goal to denuclearise North Korea,” Ms Park said during a joint three-way briefing for reporters.
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