On May 13, 2012, the fifth trilateral summit meeting of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) was held in the Great Hall of the People. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, President of the ROK Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda attended the meeting. Leaders of the three countries reviewed the progress of the trilateral cooperation, clarified the objectives and priorities of future cooperation and exchanged in-depth views on the international and regional issues of common concern. They agreed to officially launch the negotiation on the China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Area (FTA) within this year and witness the signing of the China-Japan-ROK investment agreement.
Wen said that China, Japan and the ROK helped each other to cope with the international financial crisis and have achieved significant results of pragmatic cooperation. After the March 11 devastating earthquake and tsunami disaster hit Japan, the three countries helped each other and tided over difficulties together. China, Japan and the ROK all share a common destiny. To strengthen cooperation conforms to the fundamental interests of the three countries and three peoples and will increase their ability to overcome difficulties and seek common development. The current international financial crisis is not over yet and Northeast Asia and East Asia face many unstable and uncertain factors. China, Japan and the ROK should step up strategic communication and coordination, enhance political trust and strategic mutual trust, respect and take care of each other's major concerns, create a positive and friendly social atmosphere, properly handle the negative factors affecting the cooperation, safeguard common interests and open a new chapter of the trilateral cooperation.
He put forward the following suggestions on strengthening the trilateral cooperation:
First, accelerate the construction of China-Japan-ROK FTA. China, Japan and the ROK should work closely to ensure that the FTA negotiation is officially launched during the year. In the process of negotiation, they should adhere to the open, fair and transparent principles and at the same time take care of each other's concerns, maximize the mutual benefit, strive for the early completion of the FTA construction and inject strong impetus for the economic integration in East Asia.
Second, deepen the industrial and financial cooperation. The signing of the China-Japan-ROK investment agreement should be taken as an opportunity to create a stable, fair and convenient environment for the three countries to expand investment cooperation and promote economic integration. China, Japan and the ROK should build the local economic cooperation demonstration area, expand the local currency settlement in trade and promote financial cooperation in East Asia.
Third, strengthen cooperation on sustainable development. The three countries should continue to promote cooperation and joint action plans in the ten priority areas of environment, explore the development of environmental management system in Northeast Asia, advance the construction of the trilateral recycling economy demonstration base and reinforce cooperation on urbanization, new energy, disaster prevention and mitigation.
Fourth, expand social and cultural exchanges. The three countries should continue to enhance the mutual understanding and improve the national feelings among their people. They should continue to hold the Northeast Asia Trilateral Forum and the roundtable of famous journalists; implement the Shanghai Plan on cultural cooperation and strengthen exchanges and partnership in the film, television, animation and other cultural industries; carry out the Asia Campus program and establish the meeting mechanism of their education ministers; simplify visa procedures to facilitate personnel exchanges; continue to promote exchanges between the youth.
On the situation in Northeast Asia, Wen pointed out that peace and stability in Northeast Asia involve the vital interests of all countries in the region and form the primary prerequisite to achieve sustainable development and prosperity. We should be committed to resolving relevant issues through dialogue and negotiation, attach importance to the reasonable security concerns of related parties, continue to push forward the six-party talks, achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and jointly work for the long-term stability of Northeast Asia. The priority now is to spare no efforts to prevent further escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula. All parties concerned should use their wisdom to the maximum extent, remain calm, exercise restraint, keep patience and show good faith in order to ease the confrontation and reembark on the correct path of dialogue and negotiation.
Lee and Noda said that the trilateral cooperation is massive, covers a wide range of areas and boasts fruitful results. It not only brings tangible benefits to the three countries but also is conducive to regional stability and development. The three countries should further strengthen communication and coordination, take a long-term perspective and jointly raise the trilateral cooperation to higher levels. They should speed up the construction of the FTA and launch the FTA negotiation within the year. It is significant to sign the investment agreement which should be implemented effectively. They should step up cooperation on sustainable development, enhance cultural exchanges and jointly safeguard peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Director of the National Development and Reform Commission Zhang Ping, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua and Chinese Ambassador to the ROK Zhang Xinsen were present at the meeting.
After the meeting, leaders of China, Japan and the ROK attended the signing ceremony of the agreement to promote, facilitate and protect investment among the three countries and jointly met the press.