Trilateral Meeting of the Leader's of Japan, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea (ROK)

November 29, 2004

On November 29, the Trilateral Meeting of the Leaders of Japan, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) took place in Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi chaired the meeting with the attendance of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council of China and President Roh Moo Hyun of the ROK. The following is the summary of the meeting.

1. Progress of trilateral cooperation and its future direction

The three leaders approved the two documents adopted at the Three-Party Committee headed by the Foreign Ministers of Japan, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) which took place on November 27. These were 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 of the trilateral cooperation among the People's Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea" 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 three leaders then discussed the following aspects of the trilateral cooperation for the future.

(1) Investment
Prime Minister Koizumi noted the need to further develop a legal framework in order to promote investment and to construct a more stable environment as actual progress in trade and investment is being witnessed, and expressed his wish for this issue to be thoroughly discussed among the three countries. In response, President Roh pointed out that it was important to promote discussion for the development of specific legal frameworks concerning investment. Premier Wen then spoke of the significance of trilateral cooperation in the area of investment.

(2) FTA
With regard to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Prime Minister Koizumi stated that he expected to deepen discussions at the academic-level. Premier Wen noted that the need for a trilateral FTA had been pointed out in the Joint Study Group Report, and thus work must be accelerated to realize a trilateral FTA.

(3) Energy
President Roh stated that it was necessary for the three countries to thoroughly discuss energy resources from the perspective of security, and expressed his intent to consider establishing a framework for consultations among diplomatic authorities. Responding to this, Prime Minister Koizumi stated it should be well considered at the working-level. Premier Wen stated that he would like to actively consider the proposal made by President Roh.

(4) Tourism
Prime Minister Koizumi stated that tourism was important for economic development and mutual understanding among the three countries, and that he intended to facilitate its promotion. The leaders of China and the ROK pointed out the need to enhance human exchanges.

(5) Environment
Prime Minister Koizumi acknowledged that many projects in the area of the environment have been implemented at the Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting (TEMM), and expressed his wish to advance these projects. The leaders of China and the ROK shared this view.

(6) Financial and exchange rate issues
President Roh stated that financial and exchange rate issues were extremely serious. Prime Minister Koizumi stressed the importance of conducting specific cooperation and talks at the experts-level. Premier Wen also expressed a similar opinion.

2. East Asian regional cooperation

(1) The three leaders agreed that (a) East Asian regional cooperation is rapidly advancing, (b) formulation of an East Asian community (EAc) is a long-term goal and as such, the three countries should support the leading role played by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and (c) coordination among Japan, China and the ROK in the ASEAN+3 framework should be enhanced.

(2) With regard to the East Asia Summit (EAS), Prime Minister Koizumi stated that details of its concept must be specified, such as its differences from ASEAN+3, in the event that such a Summit were to be held. Prime Minister Koizumi further proposed to hold ministerial level talks at an early date next year in order to discuss this point.

3. Regional and international situations

(1) North Korea
The three leaders shared a view concerning the nuclear issue of North Korea that early resumption of the Six-Party Talks is vital, and agreed to continue to enhance their trilateral cooperation and coordination in this respect.
Prime Minister Koizumi stated that he had confirmed that the United States held the same view regarding an early resumption of the Six-Party Talks and a peaceful resolution to North Korean issues during his meeting with President George W. Bush of the United States of America on the occasion of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in the Republic of Chile. Prime Minister Koizumi also stated that he had explained to Chairman Kim Jong-Il of the National Defense Commission of North Korea how the dismantlement of nuclear programs would bring great benefits to North Korea during his visit to North Korea this May, and asked for further cooperation of China and the ROK in efforts to resolve the abduction issue. President Roh stated that he appreciated the efforts by Japan and China towards resolving the nuclear issue of North Korea and also expressed his wish for the ROK to continue its efforts for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks and its success. Premier Wen pointed out that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was critical and must be resolved peacefully through dialogue. With regard to the Six-Party Talks, Premier Wen noted that despite the important developments that have been achieved so far, numerous difficulties still persist, and he expressed his intention to continue efforts for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks

(2) United Nations Reform
The three leaders agreed on the need to reform the United Nations (UN) which was established 60 years ago, in order to deal with transnational issues and those newly emerging due to globalization. Prime Minister Koizumi stated that the realization of the reforms of the UN and the Security Council was important as a symbol a symbol of "future-oriented" trilateral relations in the international arena.

(3) Iraq
The three leaders agreed that stability of the Middle East region including Iraq was essential for the stability of the world as well as on the importance for the international community to cooperate for the reconstruction of Iraq. Prime Minister Koizumi stated that it was vital for the people of Iraq themselves to reconstruct their country. As for Japan's role in this assistance, Prime Minister Koizumi expressed that he intended to make proactive decisions as a responsible member of the international community while carefully considering the international situation and the roles that Japan may fulfill.

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