The Trilateral Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Japan, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea
November 27, 2004
On November 27, the second Trilateral Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Japan, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) took place in Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic. Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura chaired the meeting with the attendance of Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Zhaoxing from China and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon from the ROK. The following is the summary of the meeting.
1. Adoption of the "Action Strategy on Trilateral Cooperation among the People's Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea" and the "Progress Report of the trilateral cooperation among the People's Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea," and future outlook of Japan-China-ROK Cooperation
(1) The ministers finalized the Action Strategy on Trilateral Cooperation among the People's Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea which outlines the strategic direction of the trilateral cooperation in the future and the Progress Report which summarizes the progress of the trilateral cooperation focusing on the past year since the issuance of the Joint Declaration on the Promotion of Tripartite Cooperation among Japan, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea by the leaders of the three countries last year. The foreign ministers agreed to submit these two documents to the Summit Meeting to be held on November 29.
(2) With regard to the Action Strategy, Foreign Minister Machimura first noted that agreements had been reached (a) to establish an intergovernmental consultation mechanism for the development of the business environment and (b) to start intergovernmental consultation on the legal framework of investment among the three countries, and then proposed (c) to consider the establishment of a high-level consultation mechanism for intellectual property rights. In response to this comment, Foreign Minister Ban stated that the ROK welcomed the inclusion of strategic dialogue in the energy area in the Action Strategy. Foreign Minister Li then stated that China wished for vitalization of the trilateral cooperation concerning the development of the northeastern district of China, advancement of cooperation in the energy area and further development in their talks through intergovernmental consultations on the legal framework of trilateral investment.
2. East Asian regional cooperation
(1) Foreign Minister Machimura pointed out that with the formulation of an East Asian community (EAc) now a common goal of the three countries into the future, they would contribute to creating an open EAc through step-by-step provision of functional cooperation while respecting the proactive role played by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Foreign Minister Machimura also noted the need for a close coordination with other partners that are fulfilling important roles in providing functional cooperation in areas outside the ASEAN+3 region, as well as the significance to enhance the coordination among Japan, China and the ROK in the ASEAN+3 framework. Foreign Minister Machimura continued with the issue of the East Asia Summit (EAS) and announced that Japan would welcome the convening of this meeting if the consensus of the relevant countries is obtained and that Japan was prepared to co-chair the meeting should the first EAS meeting be hosted in one of the ASEAN countries. Foreign Minister Machimura also stated that the concept of the EAS must be determined at the earliest date possible and that Japan was prepared to host the ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the occasion of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Foreign Ministers' Meeting scheduled to be held in Kyoto in May 2005.
(2) In response, Foreign Minister Li shared that China supported the move to formulate an EAc as a mid- to long-term goal and as such supported the leading role played by ASEAN. As for the date and venue of the EAS meeting, Foreign Minister Li announced that China would respect the consensus of the ASEAN countries. At the same time, Foreign Minister Li stated that, while keeping in mind the consensus that the first EAS meeting should be held in one of the ASEAN countries, China was prepared to host the second EAS meeting.
(3) Foreign Minister Ban shared the ROK's stance on this issue by stating that his country was prepared to support the first EAS meeting to be held in Malaysia next year, provided that such consensus is reached among the ASEAN countries. With regard to the concept of the EAS, Foreign Minister Ban pointed out the need for Japan, China and the ROK to feedback their views to the ASEAN countries while keeping in line with the consensus of ASEAN. Foreign Minister Ban also stated that the ROK would be in a position to support the proposal for the second EAS to be hosted by China if that was the consensus of the ASEAN+3 countries.
3. International situation
(1) Issues related to North Korea
Foreign Minister Machimura stated that Japan was currently calling on North Korea through various approaches to resume the Six-Party Talks at the earliest date possible, which Japan deems crucial. Foreign Minister Machimura also asked for the cooperation of both China and the ROK on the abduction issue. In response, Foreign Minister Li noted that China too was making various efforts for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks and expressed his wish to cooperate with both Japan and the ROK in this respect. Foreign Minister Li pointed out that there was a need for North Korea as well as the United States of America to take a more flexible approach to this issue. As for the ROK, Foreign Minister Ban stated that it was very frustrating that nuclear development in North Korea has continued to be an issue of concern. Foreign Minister Ban noted that it was important for the relevant countries to cooperate and employ diplomatic efforts as at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Chile. Foreign Minister Ban further stated that the ROK was flexible in terms of the modality of the meeting for the realization of the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks and that the relevant countries should engage in efforts to create an environment in which North Korea can easily come back to the negotiating table.
(2) United Nations Reform
Foreign Minister Machimura stated that, with the increasing momentum for the reform of the United Nations (UN) and the Security Council, it was necessary to expand both the number of permanent and non-permanent member seats including developed and developing countries in order to enhance the effectiveness and credibility of the Security Council, as promoted in the speech delivered by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the recent general assembly of the UN. Foreign Minister Machimura further noted that Japan was prepared to take on a bigger role in the UN and expressed his wish to cooperate with both China and the ROK towards the reform of the UN and the Security Council as a symbol of future-oriented cooperation. To this, Foreign Minister Li stated that China welcomed the substantial roles played by Japan and the ROK in the UN and in other international arenas and that China supported the UN reform from the standpoint that the UN should be vitalized toward the 60th anniversary of its establishment next year. Foreign Minister Li expressed his wish to engage in close consultations with both Japan and the ROK in response to the report of the High-Level Panel. Foreign Minister Ban stated that the ROK supported the UN and Security Council reforms and as the ROK had greatly contributed to the UN in various areas, it was now seeking the possibility to take on a bigger role. He also noted that the ROK had high expectations for the report of the High-Level Panel.
4. Next Trilateral Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Japan, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea (ROK)
The next Trilateral Meeting will be chaired by China and hosted in Japan. Confirmation was made that the specifics such as its date would be arranged later.
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