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The Seventh Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit

On Wednesday, May 9, the Seventh Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit meeting was held at the Akasaka State Guest House in Tokyo. (The participating leaders were H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan; H.E. Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China; and H.E. Mr. Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea (ROK).

The three leaders welcomed steady progress made in various fields of the trilateral cooperation and expressed appreciation of the initiatives of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) for its contribution. In addition, they discussed the current status and future directions of specific cooperation projects. The three leaders agreed to advance cooperation in a variety of areas, including strengthening people -to-people exchange through the opportunity of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, finance, energy, environment, disaster risk reduction, and ICT. The three leaders also confirmed that they will advance the trilateral cooperation in a more “open and inclusive” manner.

Regarding the over this10 years, Prime Minister Abe emphasized the spirit laid down in the Joint Statement of the First Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit, which stated, “We are determined to pursue comprehensive cooperationin the future-oriented manner.” He noted that such future-oriented cooperation has steadily advanced; negotiations on the trilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has launched, the Trilateral Investment Agreement entered into force, the number of people-to-people exchange has doubled, 21 ministerial-level meetings have been held since the last summit and over 100 cooperative programs have been implemented, trilateral cooperation has systemized through the establishment of the TCS. Prime Minister Abe stated that he hoped to carve a new start of the trilateral cooperation as this year marks the 10th year since the first trilateral summit was hold.

The three leaders confirmed that the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is their common goal and shared the view to continue their close cooperation toward the peace and stability in North East Asia.

The three leaders confirmed to advance their cooperation toward North Korea’s dismantlement of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and ballistic missiles in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions. Prime Minister Abe stressed that it is necessary to urge North Korea to take concrete actions.

As for the abductions issue, Prime Minister Abe called for the two leader’s support and cooperation toward its early resolution, and gained their understanding.

The three leaders had a frank exchange of views on how to make North Korea take the right course and pave the way for its bright future. Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan’s resolve to settle the unfortunate past and make every possible effort for the normalization of the relations, on the condition that North Korea resolves the outstanding issues of concern such as the abductions issues as well as nuclear and missile issues completely and take the right course, has not changed.

The three leaders shared the view to cooperate in fora including the East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN+3 and to contribute together for the integration of ASEAN. Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan will promote the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy,” and required China and Korea to agree with this way of thinking.

The three leaders agreed to promote free trade and cooperate toward the early agreement of the high quality Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the acceleration of the trilateral FTA negotiation. Prime Minister Abe stated that due to Abenomics Japan is steadily advancing the path towards an exit from deflation, and that he will build a vibrant Japan and contribute to regional and global economic growth.

The three leaders agreed on promoting the SDGs and cooperating in the areas such as health, climate change and so on. Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan, China and the ROK should cooperate and enhance their counter measures as a whole including border control and capacity building for the third countries in regards to cross border crimes such as terrorism, cybercrime and illegal drug trade.