Fifth Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit (Summary)

June 27, 2012

The Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting of Japan, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) was held in Beijing on May 13. An overview of the meeting is as follows. (Among those attending the meeting on the Japanese side were Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tsuyoshi Saito, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Akihisa Nagashima. Participants on the Chinese side included Premier of the State Council Wen Jiabao, and among those on the ROK side was President Lee Myung-bak.)

1. Adoption of Joint Declaration and Attached Documents

As outcomes of the meeting, the Joint Declaration on the Enhancement of Trilateral Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership was issued along with two attached documents – the Joint Statement of Cooperation on Sustainable Forest Management, Combating Desertification and Wildlife Conservation, and the Joint Statement on Agricultural Cooperation.

2. Trilateral Cooperation

The leaders of the three countries welcomed the presence at the meeting of Secretary-General Shin Bong-kil of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat and expressed expectations for contribution to be made by the Secretariat to further progress in cooperation among Japan, China and the ROK. They also welcomed the progress being made in a wide range of fields within the Japan-China-ROK framework, including the first Trilateral Agricultural Ministers’ Meeting.

(1) Trade and Investment

The leaders of the three countries welcomed the signing of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Investment Agreement and shared the recognition that this Investment Agreement had historical significance in that it would create the first legal framework in the field of economy among the three countries. Additionally, Prime Minister Noda stated that the Trilateral Investment Agreement would be a precursor to the FTA among Japan, China and the ROK and that with the conclusion of the Investment Agreement as an impetus, he wished to deepen collaboration with a view to achieving a high-level economic partnership. The leaders of the three countries also reached a consensus to launch the trilateral FTA negotiations within this year.

(2) Great East Japan Earthquake

Prime Minister Noda expressed gratitude anew to China and the ROK for the enormous assistance they extended to Japan following the Great East Japan Earthquake last year, adding that he wanted to promote cooperation by sharing knowledge and lessons learned from the disaster with the international community. He then expressed his hope to Premier Wen and President Lee that China and the ROK would take the latest post-disaster situation into account and review and relax restrictions on imports of Japanese goods and on travel to Japan imposed after the earthquake.

(3) Environment and Energy

Prime Minister Noda said the realization of low-carbon growth was an important element in the establishment of sustainable society and that Japan would be able to make active contributions in this regard with its excellent low-carbon technology and relevant institutional systems. He expressed his desire to utilize to use the results of the East Asia Low-Carbon Growth Partnership Dialogue hosted by Japan to work toward the realization of low-carbon growth in concert with China and the ROK and received the support of the two countries. The leaders of the three countries shared concern about the recent hike of energy prices and concurred on the need to strengthen cooperation directed to energy market stability.

(4) People-to-people and Cultural Exchange

The leaders of the three countries welcomed steady progress being made in the Collective Action for Mobility Program of University Students in Asia, known as “Campus Asia,” which is designed to reinforce exchanges among universities in Japan, China and the ROK. They shared the recognition that they would continue to cooperate so that the program would be able to contribute to promoting high-quality exchanges among universities and to nurture competent human resources in the Asian region through further expansion and progress in these efforts. Prime Minister Noda said Japan would proceed with its efforts to attain the goal of expanding the exchanges to the scale of 26 million people among the three countries by 2015. He expressed expectations to Premier Wen and President Lee that their two countries would review and relax travel restrictions. The leaders of the three countries mutually acknowledged the exchange of young people among the three countries was meaningful.

(5) Maritime Cooperation

Prime Minister Noda stated that securing maritime safety was extremely important for the three countries and the leaders of the three countries reaffirmed the importance of enhancing trilateral cooperation in search and rescue to ensure maritime safety.

3. Regional and Global Issues

(1) Northeast Asian Situation

Prime Minister Noda stated that North Korea’s missile launch on April 13 was extremely deplorable as it was not only a violation of relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions, but also it undermined efforts by countries concerned toward resolving issues through dialogue. Also, he appreciated the prompt issuance of the U.N. Security Council Presidential Statement warning against further provocative actions by North Korea and the decision by the Security Council to enhance the effectiveness of the existing measures imposed by paragraph 8 of resolution 1718(2006). The leaders of the three countries concurred on the importance of preventing further provocations by North Korea and on the need to urge North Korea to exercise restraint through close cooperation among Japan, China and the ROK. Prime Minister Noda also expressed his gratitude for the support and cooperation of the ROK and China for the abductions issue.

(2) International Economic Situation

Prime Minister Noda expressed that the agreement at the G20 Finance Ministers’ Meeting to enhance the funding capability of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by more than 430 billion dollars was a great achievement, owing much of it to the initiative of Japan which announced a contribution of 60 billion dollars to the IMF before any other country did. The leaders of the three countries welcomed the agreement at the earlier meeting of ASEAN+3 finance ministers and central bank governors on the strengthening of the Chiang Mai Initiative, a regional safety net, as a great achievement for the Asian and world economies.

(3) East Asia Cooperation

Prime Minister Noda proposed to develop the East Asia Summit (EAS) into a leaders-led forum to confirm common principles and fundamental rules of the region, thus connecting its outcome to tangible cooperation. Concerning the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in East Asia, the three leaders shared the view that the three countries would cooperate in establishing a new ASEAN+ working group without delay to accelerate discussions for the start of negotiations.

(4) Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

The leaders of the three countries welcomed the concrete progress in international efforts for enhancing nuclear security made at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. They also shared the understanding that there is a shared necessity for steady implementation of the Action Plan adopted at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Prime Minister Noda also stated that increased transparency of nuclear capabilities and an early entry into force of the CTBT were important.

(5) Climate Change

Prime Minister Noda welcomed the results of COP17 and, viewing the establishment of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action as an important outcome, he said Japan would like to proactively contribute to international discussions on building a future framework in which all countries would participate.

(6) MDGs

Prime Minister Noda expressed that in addition to the need for accelerated efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through 2015, cross-sectoral elements such as human security, equity/narrowing gaps, sustainability and growth/job creation constituted factors to be taken into account in pursuing post-MDGs. The leaders of the three countries concurred on the need for further cooperation in discussing the formulation of post-MDGs.

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