The leaders of China, Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo on Wednesday at the seventh Trilateral Summit meeting, to discuss trade between the three countries and cooperation on ending North Korea’s nuclear programme.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country would normalise ties with North Korea if the nuclear matter and the abduction of 13 citizens were resolved, Reuters reported. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said, at the same news conference, that he supported dialogue between Japan and North Korea.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the three nations would continue cooperation as North and South Korea continued to move towards a permanent peace settlement. “Above all we reached the consensus that complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, a permanent peace settlement and improvement of South-North relations is very important for peace and prosperity of Northeast Asia,” he added.
The Chinese premier discussed the need for swift negotiations on regional free trade deals, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which Beijing backs, in the backdrop of the United States-China trade war. “We are all beneficiaries of free trade and even though various issues have emerged, these should not stand in the way,” Li said. “Through actual behavior, let’s show that we three nations support engaging in free trade.”
US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose trade tariffs on all three countries in an attempt to seek trade concessions.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday in Dalian in China’s Liaoning Province. This was their second meeting in two months, and came ahead of the North Korean leader’s proposed meeting with Trump. In April, the leaders of North Korea and South Korea had met for the first time since the Korean War.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Pyongyang to finalise the dates of the Kim-Trump meeting, AP reported.