The Seventh Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Meeting
The Seventh Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Meeting between Japan, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea was convened in Seoul, the Republic of Korea from 5:10pm to 6:30pm on Saturday, March 21. Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China and Mr. Yun Byung-se, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea attended the meeting. The outline of the meeting is as follows. After the meeting, a joint press release was issued.
The three Ministers acknowledged that there has been steady progress in trilateral cooperation in various areas, and appreciated the efforts made by the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) to promote trilateral cooperation. The three Ministers also discussed the current status and future directions of specific cooperation projects in the following areas.
- (1)The three Ministers shared the view that they would further cooperate in such areas as environment, disaster management and youth exchange. Regarding disaster management, Minister Kishida mentioned the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction just held in Sendai City and stated his appreciation for the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea’s participation in this event. He also mentioned the Trilateral Head of Government Agency Level Meeting on Disaster Management. He suggested that three countries should move forward on the trilateral FTA and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations.
- (2)The three Ministers have also just decided to launch the “Trilateral Policy Consultation on Middle East Affairs,” and to resume the “Trilateral Counter-Terrorism Consultation,” as well as the “Trilateral Policy Dialogue on Africa” in the near future. Minister Kishida emphasized that while the trilateral cooperation has been ongoing in the field of nuclear safety, Japan would like to continue the dialogue with the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea, and deepen further cooperation with the two countries.
2．Regional and Global Situations
- (1)The Situation in Northeast Asia
- The three Ministers reaffirmed their staunch opposition to the development of nuclear weapons by North Korea, and decided to make joint efforts to resume meaningful talks for substantial progress in denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Minister Kishida called on the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea for enhanced cooperation on the abductions issue, which is one of the top priorities of the Abe administration.
- (2)Cooperation in East Asia
- Minister Kishida pointed out the importance of strengthening the East Asia Summit (EAS), which will mark its 10th anniversary this year, and of supporting the establishment of the ASEAN Community. The three Ministers appreciated the outcome of last year’s APEC summit in Beijing, as well as the People's Republic of China’s efforts to ensure it was a success, and they decided to cooperate to produce further concrete outcomes at this year’s APEC summit in the Philippines.
- (3)Counter-Terrorism and the Middle East (ISIL)
- Minister Kishida pointed out that the ISIL has become a serious threat to the international community, and emphasized that it is important for the nations of the international community to cooperate with each other by taking advantage of the individual strengths of each country and to make multi-faceted and long-term efforts to combat this threat. He explained that Japan will expand humanitarian assistance, as well as its support for improving counter-terrorism capabilities and building societies that do not produce this sort of extremism.
- (4)Nuclear Disarmament
- Considering that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings, Minister Kishida pointed out the importance of the success of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference of this year in showing how we can move closer to living in a world without nuclear weapons.
3．Trilateral Summit Meeting
The three Ministers decided to continue their efforts to hold a Trilateral Summit at the earliest convenient date for the three countries. Minister Kishida explained that Japan has attached importance to holding the Trilateral Summit early. He stated that he will make further efforts to hold the Trilateral Summit early, in cooperation with the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea while there is a growing momentum for trilateral cooperation as a result of the Foreign Ministers' Meeting.
There were comments about the history issue made at the meeting, and Minister Kishida stated that Japan’s position remains the same as has been explained on various occasions including at bilateral meetings.