China, Japan and South Korea pledge to promote talks on free trade and energy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 11:07pm

Trade chiefs from Japan, China and South Korea agreed on Saturday to promote negotiations on free trade and cooperation in the energy sector at a trilateral meeting in Tokyo.

They also vowed to urge more trade and investment across the globe and cooperate in hosting the Olympics.

The three Asian countries also reaffirmed in a joint statement the need to counter protectionist moves and pledged to play a leading role in realising high-level and comprehensive rules in a three-way trade pact they are pursuing and the broader Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

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The RCEP is an ambitious trade agreement being discussed by the three countries, the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia, India and New Zealand.

“All three countries will inform their leaders of the outcome of the meeting so it will be reflected in the conclusion of the trilateral summit (to be held later this year),” Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said after the meeting.

Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said they were able to reach an outcome that could help their leaders realise their common views in promoting economic and trade activities.

South Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Joo Hyung-hwan said the trade chiefs shared concern over rising protectionism and pledged to come together to address it.

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In the energy sector, the countries will strengthen cooperation in importing liquefied natural gas in a bid to ensure stable procurement of such gas.

The ministers also agreed to cooperate in the culture and sports fields ahead of the Olympics they are hosting.

South Korea will host the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, while the Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020. China will host the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022.