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China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Summit boosts economic ties
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China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Summit boosts economic ties

Premier Li Qiang has underlined the need for China, Japan and the Republic of Korea to accelerate trilateral cooperation to embark on a new journey of all-around development and make greater contributions to regional prosperity and stability.

Li made the remarks while addressing the ninth China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting in Seoul. Boosting economic ties among the key regional players topped the meeting agenda.

During the meeting, Li, together with ROK President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, revived the trilateral dialogue that had been suspended for over four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and disputes among the Asian neighbors.

While jointly addressing the media with the other two Asian leaders after the meeting, Premier Li said the three countries need to enhance economic and trade connectivity, strengthen cooperation on regional industrial and supply chains, and work for the restart of negotiations on a trilateral free trade agreement.

He also said the three countries need to deepen scientific and technological cooperation and step up cooperation in frontier areas, such as artificial intelligence, the digital economy and the green economy.

"We should make further efforts to foster a favorable environment conducive to enduring peace and stability," Li said.

"It is important that the three countries properly handle sensitive issues, differences and disagreements, accommodate one another's core interests and major concerns, and practice true multilateralism, to jointly safeguard security and stability in Northeast Asia and to promote peace and tranquility in the region and beyond," the premier added.

China is the largest trading partner of the ROK and Japan, with the trade volume with each of them exceeding more than $300 billion in 2023. Together, the three countries make up about 25 percent of global GDP and 20 percent of global trade.

While calling for strengthening collaborative innovation and cooperation in frontier areas, Li said that China will establish a China-Japan-ROK Innovation Cooperation Center to support the three countries in accelerating the cultivation of new innovation drivers.

He called on the three countries to make good use of their respective development advantages, actively respond to the needs of Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries and other nations in the region, and create new engines of regional cooperation.

Regarding tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the premier urged all parties to play a constructive role, stay committed to easing tension, work for the early resumption of dialogue, push forward the process for a political settlement of the issue, and uphold regional peace and stability.

The three countries released the Joint Declaration of the Ninth China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting, the Joint Statement on a 10-Year Vision for Trilateral Intellectual Property Cooperation, and the Joint Statement on Future Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response.

The leaders reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the steadiness and continuity of trilateral cooperation, and they agreed to deepen partnership in areas such as cultural and people-to-people exchanges, sustainable development, the economy and trade, public health, science and technology, and disaster relief.

They pledged to resume the trilateral negotiations on a free trade agreement, jointly promote East Asian cooperation, work together to tackle climate change and other global issues, and promote the steady growth of relations among China, Japan and the ROK.

The three countries also agreed to designate 2025-26 as the China-Japan-ROK Years of Cultural Exchange.

Experts expressed hope that the trilateral platform could play a role in managing differences and preventing regional tensions from escalating, as the three nations agreed to hold trilateral summits and ministerial meetings on a regular basis.

Woo Su-keun, head of the Institute of East Asian Studies of Korea and president of the Korea-China Global Association, said that the resumption of trilateral cooperation will create a more favorable environment to allow dialogues and cooperative frameworks to proceed in the future.

Considering the importance of the three countries in East Asia, trilateral or bilateral cooperation frameworks can be considered as a very important foundation for preventing and easing regional tension, and for coexistence and mutual benefit based on stability and cooperation, Woo said.

Kumiko Haba, professor emeritus at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, said that to maintain peace in East Asia, it is essential to have summit meetings as well as efforts on local government exchanges, youth exchanges, frequent dialogues and economic cooperation. Yetao

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