The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds a Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media on the 8th China-Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) Leaders' Meeting
2019/12/19

On December 19, 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media on the 8th China-Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) leaders' meeting. Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and Assistant Minister of Commerce Li Chenggang briefed the media on relevant situation and answered questions from Chinese and foreign journalists.

Luo Zhaohui said, the 8th China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting will be held in Chengdu, Sichuan on December 24, 2019. President Xi Jinping will meet with President Moon Jae-in of the ROK and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan in Beijing respectively. Premier Li Keqiang will chair the meeting and meet with the ROK and Japanese leaders respectively. The meeting will be held against the backdrop of the 20th anniversary of trilateral cooperation, profound and complex changes in the international and regional situation and the sound development momentum of trilateral relations. The leaders of the three countries attach great importance to the meeting, which is also highly expected by the peoples of the three countries and followed closely by the international community. Apart from the leaders' meeting, the leaders of the three countries will also attend China-Japan-ROK Business Summit, meet the press together and attend commemoration activities of the 20th anniversary of trilateral cooperation.

Luo Zhaohui expressed, over the past two decades, through this important platform, our three countries have enhanced political mutual trust, deepened practical cooperation, boosted regional stability and promoted global prosperity, giving some unique characteristics to our cooperation. The first is the profound cooperation foundation. Our three countries are neighbors facing each other across the sea, and are very close to each other in terms of geographical location, ancestral ties and cultural background. We all have Confucian heritage culture and together we have nurtured the East Asian civilization. Our three countries share highly complementary economies and industrial structures, are each other's important development partners and are major economies in the world. Our combined population exceeds 1.6 billion, which makes up 21 percent of the world total. And our economic output is 20.2 trillion US dollars, which constitutes 24 percent of the world total. The second is fruitful cooperation achievements. We have forged an all-round cooperation system with leaders' meeting as the core and supported by 21 ministerial meetings. Our cooperation covers over 30 areas. The three sides have signed the China-Japan-ROK trilateral investment agreement and held 16 rounds of negotiations on free trade. Last year, the total trade volume of the three countries exceeded 720 billion US dollars with more than 31 million personnel exchanges. We have also established the China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat. The third is that our cooperation enjoys promising prospects. Japan and the ROK attach great importance to external trade and investment, and have huge advantages in hi-tech areas including information and big data. China boasts a huge market, as well as unique strengths as a late comer in 5G and the Internet. China will open its door wider and ensure the smooth construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. Next year, China will finish the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, keep the momentum of stable growth of its economy and keep its economy positive in the long run. The Chinese side is willing to share its market and development opportunities with Japan and the ROK. The fourth is to constantly eliminate interference and grasp the general trend of our cooperation. As close neighbors, it is normal for us to have differences in history and territorial waters. However, it is critical for us to well manage the differences, make the pie of our cooperation bigger, and make sure that our cooperation will not be disturbed by external factors. The three sides have reached consensus in this regard.

Luo Zhaohui said, with joint efforts, our three countries will write a new chapter. Premier Li Keqiang looks forward to meeting with leaders of the ROK and Japan in Chengdu to work out cooperation plans, draw up a blueprint for development, and elevate trilateral cooperation to a new height. The first is to make a top-level design for our future cooperation and grasp the right direction of cooperation. Through this meeting, the leaders of the three countries will further enhance strategic communication and jointly plan the future development direction of China-Japan-ROK cooperation. The China-ROK-Japan cooperation vision for the next ten years will be released at the meeting. The second is to exchange views on deepening practical cooperation to expand common interests. The leaders of the three countries will provide new cooperation initiatives and visions in fields including scientific and technological innovation, sustainable development, aging, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and "China-Japan-ROK plus X", cultivate more cooperation highlights and growth points, and promote the in-depth and practical development of trilateral cooperation. The third is to accelerate negotiations on the China-Japan-ROK free trade agreement and jointly safeguard multilateralism and free trade. China, Japan and the ROK are beneficiaries and supporters of multilateralism and free trade. On the basis of the positive progress in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), China, Japan, and the ROK face important opportunities to accelerate the negotiations on the free trade agreement. The three countries are willing to work together to realize higher-level and higher-standard trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. The fourth is to properly handle hotspot issues and maintain regional stability. The leaders of the three countries will exchange views on international and regional issues of common concern such as the Korean Peninsula situation, strengthen coordination and communication, and continue to play a constructive role in achieving peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Li Chenggang expressed, over the past 20 years of China-Japan-ROK cooperation, economic and trade cooperation has continued to be deepened, with rapidly expanded trade, investment, and personnel exchanges among the three countries. Together, we have promoted the continuous improvement of regional economic integration, and have become increasingly prominent in East Asia and the world. Against the backdrop of increasing downward pressure on the world economy, and rising protectionism and unilateralism, China, Japan and the ROK, as important Asian countries and three major economies in East Asia, shoulder important responsibilities for maintaining regional peace and stability and promoting world development and prosperity. The 8th China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting to be held among Premier Li Keqiang and leaders of the ROK and Japan will certainly further consolidate and deepen the political mutual trust of the three countries, elevate economic and trade cooperation among the three countries, promote the comprehensive development of mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas among the three countries, and inject strong momentum into the economic growth and sustained development of East Asia and the world.

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