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Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing Strengthen Bonds, Pledge Denuclearization

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Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing commit to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and strengthen trilateral cooperation at a pivotal summit, emphasizing economic and regional stability.

Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing reaffirmed their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and regional peace during a significant tripartite summit on Monday. The leaders of the three neighboring countries pledged to bolster their cooperation and expedite the conclusion of a trilateral free trade agreement. This meeting, held in Seoul, marked the first tripartite summit in five years between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, Chinese Premier Li Qiang, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Although North Korea's issue was not formally on the agenda, the imminent launch of a spy satellite by Pyongyang brought the North Korean dilemma into sharp focus. The North had notified the Japanese coast guard of an eight-day launch window starting Sunday night, a move that would defy UN sanctions. Reports from Seoul suggest that North Korea benefits from space assistance from Moscow in exchange for arms deliveries to Russian forces in Ukraine.

Yoon and Kishida urged Pyongyang to cancel the launch, emphasizing that it would jeopardize regional and global peace and stability. They called for a 'decisive' international response should the launch proceed. In a joint statement, the leaders reiterated their commitment to peace and stability in the region and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Fumio Kishida noted that these goals are in the common interest of the three nations.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang urged all concerned parties to exercise restraint to prevent further complications, echoing China's standpoint as North Korea's major trading partner and diplomatic ally. While China has historically refrained from condemning Pyongyang's weapons tests, it has countered joint military maneuvers by Washington and Seoul.

On the economic front, the tripartite summit underscored the importance of strengthening trilateral cooperation. The three nations agreed to regularly organize such summits and push for a tripartite free trade agreement. They committed to creating a transparent and predictable environment for trade and investment, aiming to establish a secure supply chain.

Chinese Premier Li called on Tokyo and Seoul to avoid turning economic and trade issues into political games or security challenges, advocating against protectionism and disruption of supply chains. Following the summit, the three leaders participated in an economic gathering with business leaders to foster trade among their nations.

  • President Yoon Suk-yeol has been proactive in improving South Korea's relations with Japan, a former colonial power, amid escalating threats from North Korea. The summit also highlighted the collaborative spirit between South Korea and Japan, both strong allies of the United States in Asia.
  • During bilateral talks, President Yoon urged Chinese Premier Li to utilize his position in the UN Security Council to maintain peace. The summit brought China back into the Northeast Asian cooperation framework, despite there being no concrete discussions about potential visits between the heads of state of China and South Korea.
Clam Reports
Refs: | SBS News | Le Figaro |



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