North Korea

China, Japan, South Korea urge North Korea to scrap nuclear weapons

Comments from three nations come ahead of a US-North Korean summit, amid hopes it will pave way to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2018, 12:23pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2018, 8:38pm

Leaders from Japan, China and South Korea on Wednesday reaffirmed the importance of the denuclearisation of North Korea as the world looks ahead to the first-ever US-North Korean summit in the coming weeks.

Speaking after a summit with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae In, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hailed a declaration released after the inter-Korean summit late last month that confirmed the “complete” denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Abe also said that China and South Korea would support Japan’s efforts to resolve the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea decades ago. He said it was one of his government’s top priorities.

“Japan, China and South Korea, in collaboration with the international community, have to strongly urge North Korea to take concrete actions,” Abe said at the opening of the summit in Tokyo, the first such meeting in 2½ years.

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Moon stressed the necessity of support from Japan and China “on the path towards peace on the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia”.

Li pledged to further develop cooperation to “maintain peace and stability in the region to contribute to peace and prosperity in the world”.

The “annual” Japan-China-South Korea summit – the seventh of its kind – comes after the historic encounter between Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un late last month, and ahead of the unprecedented US-North Korean summit between President Donald Trump and Kim, expected by early June.

During the Moon-Kim dialogue in the truce village of Panmunjom, the two Koreas agreed to pursue the “complete” denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and said they would strive to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean war.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping met Kim in Beijing in March, the leader of the restive state promised a nuclear-free peninsula. Beijing is Pyongyang’s main ally and trading partner.

Kim also made a surprise trip to China’s northeastern port city of Dalian and met Xi on Monday and Tuesday, according to Xinhua.

The leaders of the three Asian powers, which together account for more than 20 per cent of the global economy, also confirmed the necessity of free trade, Li said.

Abe, Li and Moon also discussed how to promote people-to-people, cultural and educational exchanges as Japan is expected to host the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games and China the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

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Since 2008 the three countries have taken turns hosting the gatherings, which have sometimes been put on hold due to Japan’s chilled ties with its two neighbours over historical and territorial disputes, as well as political turmoil in South Korea.

Li arrived in Japan on Tuesday on his first visit since assuming the post of premier in 2013. Moon is paying his first visit since becoming president in 2017.

Li is the first Chinese premier to travel to Japan in seven years and Moon’s visit is the first by a South Korean president in more than six years.