Jeju summit nets plan for trilateral cooperation

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Jeju summit nets plan for trilateral cooperation

SEOGWIPO, Jeju - South Korea, Japan and China will open a trilateral cooperation office in South Korea next year to institutionalize efforts of Northeast regional collaboration, leaders of the three countries agreed on Saturday.

According to the Blue House, President Lee Myung-bak, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao also adopted a trilateral cooperation vision, outlining a 10-year road map for their shared economic, cultural and security goals.

The Blue House said the establishment of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat is designed to support the three nations’ summits and foreign ministerial talks. “It will pave a way for [South] Korea to play a role as facilitator for the three nations’ cooperation,” the Blue House said in a statement.

The office will be established at Seoul’s expense and the working-level language will be English. A secretary general and two deputies will be selected, and Korea, Japan and China will take turns heading the office.

The three leaders also adopted a cooperative vision for the next decade. The Trilateral Cooperation Vision 2020 focuses on the cooperative partnership and efforts to push free trade agreements in the region, the Blue House said.

Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing agreed to cooperate for the peace and stability of the region and the international community, and specified that they would work to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs. They also agreed to cooperate to fight climate change, protect the environment and enhance human exchanges.

According to the Blue House, Lee stressed during Saturday’s meeting that the three countries should push forward a trilateral free trade agreement with the aim of building an economic bloc in the Northeast Asian region.

At the beginning of the meeting, South Korea’s Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon briefed the leaders about a study on a Korea-Japan-China free trade agreement. The trilateral trade volume amounts to $438 billion.

The three leaders also agreed to accords on trilateral cooperation targeting standardization, science innovation and the establishment of an employment and labor council, as well as a pilot program on government employee exchange projects.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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