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FULL TEXT: Joint Declaration on Enhancement of Trilateral Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership among China, ROK, Japan

May 14, 2012 (TSR) – The Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting among China, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan was held in Beijing from Sunday to Monday. The three nations released a Joint Declaration on the Enhancement of Trilateral Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership.

The main aim of the summit is to launch a Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiation, as well as joint response to natural disasters, security issues, weather information and education. The three leaders signed an Investment Agreement – which will enable a stable, legal protection for investors and transparent investment atmosphere among all three countries. The trilateral economic cooperation will form a greater driving force for North-east Asia economies and the world economy as a whole. China, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan agreed not to accept any future nuclear test.

Chaired by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the trilateral cooperation is considered an important platform for the three East Asian countries to cement good-neighborly friendship, trust and practical cooperation, and expand common interests.

2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan ties and the Year of China-Japan Friendly Exchanges. It is also the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-ROK diplomatic relations and the Year of China-ROK Friendly Exchanges.

As a crucial and integral part of East Asia cooperation, the process of trilateral cooperation among China, Japan and the ROK was initiated in 1999, on the sidelines of the ASEAN plus China, Japan and the ROK summit. Practical cooperation has since grown rapidly, with trilateral trade volume more than quintupled from 130 billion U.S. dollars in 1999 to near 700 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.

China has been on top of the trade partner lists of both Japan and the ROK for many years, as the latter two remained major trade partners and sources of investment to China.

Earlier this month, the cultural ministers of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) also signed a joint action plan, called  the Shanghai Action Plan (2012-2014), in Shanghai to step up cooperation in protecting cultural heritage and conduct more exchanges between their respective cultural industries.

On October 15 to 18, 2011, China’s Communist Party chiefs ended their annual policy meeting with a historic decision focus on the cultivation of virtue and maintenance of ethics to maintain its culture amid globalization and enhance its soft power abroad. It is the first time in years that China’s ruling party, the world’s largest with 80 million members, has held a plenary session of its 365 most senior officials to call for a shift in focus from the booming economy to addressing the voids that success has left. 

As suggested by Western advisors, Oriental wisdom must and will open up a new future for the world. Values as the core of all civilizations address why people live and what is the most important to people. China may contribute to the world by finding a different model of development based on its own culture while absorbing the essence of all civilizations. The Communist Party members must humble themselves to foster and advocate values that are compatible with ancient wisdom, go back to her Confucian heritage, to guide people’s needs and the beliefs common to most nations.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said it is “very necessary and urgent” for the three countries to unite more closely for common and self-development, handle and deepen trilateral cooperation from a strategic height and long-term perspective to promote mutual benefit and contribute to regional and global peace, stability and prosperity.

During the meeting, Lee hailed the summit as being greatly significant as it witnessed agreements reached on starting the construction of a free trade area and promoting investment. He also expressed hope that the three countries can continuously strengthen exchanges and cooperation in such fields as politics, the economy and culture, and make efforts to promote regional stability and development as well as world economic recovery.

Japan, according to Noda, hopes the three nations take the opportunities secured at the summit, to enhance mutual trust, uplift trade, cooperation over investment and the economy, expand personnel exchanges, especially among young people, and make efforts to safeguard regional stability and development.

Since 2008, leaders of the three countries have met five times outside the ASEAN plus China, Japan and the ROK framework.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (C) met with President of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Lee Myung-bak (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (R) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 14, 2012. China hosted the Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting between China, the ROK and Japan on Sunday and Monday.

Regarded as a milestone,  a declaration was thus adopted at the close of the summit today. The full text of the Declaration is as follows:

The Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting among the People’ s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea and Japan

Joint Declaration on the Enhancement of Trilateral Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership

(13 May 2012 Beijing, China)

1. We, the leaders of the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, convened in Beijing, China on 13 May 2012, on the occasion of the 5th Trilateral Summit Meeting for an in-depth discussion on further enhancing the trilateral cooperation, promoting common development and making contributions to the stability, development and prosperity of the region and the world at large.

2. We welcomed the progress made since the inception of trilateral cooperation in 1999, especially since the First Trilateral Summit Meeting in 2008, which was held independently from other multilateral meetings for the first time. We reviewed with satisfaction the implementation of the Joint Statement for Tripartite Partnership (2008), the Joint Statement on the Tenth Anniversary of Trilateral Cooperation (2009) and the Trilateral Cooperation Vision 2020 (2010) and were pleased to witness the extensive benefits brought by the trilateral cooperation to the people of the three countries.

3. We fully recognized the fact that, due to the uncertainty of the world economy, deepening of the debt crisis in developed economies, ongoing unrest in West Asia and North Africa and continued momentum of growth in East Asia, further enhancement of the trilateral cooperation has contributed to steady economic growth in the three countries and accelerated economic integration in Northeast Asia. It will inject fresh vigor and vitality into East Asia cooperation, and serve peace, stability and prosperity in the region, thus facilitating economic recovery and growth in the world. We reiterated that we would view and approach the trilateral cooperation from a strategic point of view. We stressed that, on the basis of mutual respect, equality, common interests, openness and transparency, we would advance the trilateral relations in the direction of good-neighborliness, mutual trust, comprehensive cooperation, reciprocity, mutual benefit and common development.

4. With this in mind, we shared the view that we would further enhance the future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership among the three countries.

Enhancing Political Mutual Trust

5. We stressed that we would further increase high-level contacts, and provide continuous and strong political support for the relations and steady development of cooperation among the three countries.

6. We welcomed the positive outcome of the first Policy Dialogue on Asian Affairs held this year and the previous consultations on African Affairs, Latin American Affairs and Counter-Terrorism among our three countries. We expressed support for the three countries to continue to host, on a rotational basis, the above-mentioned consultations, actively explore ways to strengthen communication and coordination in more sectors and fields, and constantly promote mutual understanding and trust.

7. We took note of the extensive cooperation among the three countries in the fields of disaster relief, nuclear safety and joint study on earthquakes. We encouraged the three countries to advance cooperation in non-traditional security issues, such as piracy, energy security, cyber security, communicable diseases, terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

8. We also welcomed enhanced cooperation on disaster management and nuclear safety, in particular, since the Great East Japan Earthquake in pursuant to the Summit Declaration and attached documents issued in 2011. Japan expressed its gratitude for the assistance extended by the Governments and people of China and the ROK. China and the ROK expressed support for Japan’s initiative to host the “High-level International Conference on Large-Scale Natural Disasters” in July 2012 in the disaster-stricken Tohoku region.

9. Welcoming the recent agreement in principle on the maritime search and rescue agreement between China and Japan, we reaffirmed the importance of enhancing trilateral cooperation in search and rescue to ensure maritime safety.

10. We welcomed the establishment of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat in September 2011 in Seoul, the ROK, and expressed support for the Secretariat to provide high-quality service and play an active role in promoting trilateral cooperation.

Deepening Economic and Trade Cooperation

11. We would further strengthen the economic and trade relations and deepen the convergence of interests. We endorsed the achievements of the 9th Tripartite Economic and Trade Ministers’ Meeting held in Beijing in May this year. We reiterated that we would enhance cooperation with a view to creating an attractive environment for trade and investment.

12. We welcomed the conclusion and recommendations of the Joint Study for an FTA among the three countries. Recognizing that the establishment of an FTA among China, Japan and the ROK would contribute to the economic growth and prosperity of the three countries, we hereby endorsed the recommendations from the trade ministers that the trilateral FTA negotiation would be launched within this year. And to achieve this end, the three countries should immediately start preparation work including domestic procedures and working level consultations.

13. We welcomed the signing of the Trilateral Agreement for the Promotion, Facilitation and Protection of Investment, and shared the view that the Agreement would provide a strong push to the promotion, facilitation and protection of reciprocal investment among the three countries. We concurred on completing our respective domestic procedures as soon as possible, so as to bring the Agreement into effect at the earliest date.

14. We are committed to working together to promote our regional financial cooperation to ensure stability of financial markets and pursue sustainable growth in the region. In this regard, we welcomed the substantial progress in strengthening the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), including doubling its size, increasing the IMF de-linked portion and introducing the crisis prevention function. We also welcomed further enhancing the Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI) as well as the successful start of surveillance activities of the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO).

15. We reaffirmed our commitment to enhancing trilateral financial cooperation. In this regard, we welcomed the enlargement of bilateral currency swap arrangements among the three countries last year, which contributed significantly to stabilizing the regional financial markets. We agreed to promote investment by the foreign reserve authorities in one another’s government bonds, further strengthen our cooperation, including information-sharing, and thereby enhance the regional economic relationship among the three countries.

16. We encouraged our customs authorities to actively implement the Action Plan of the Tripartite Customs Cooperation as revised in 2011, and continue to bolster pragmatic cooperation in IPR protection, customs procedures and trade facilitation, mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), customs enforcement and intelligence as well as human resource development.

17. We reaffirmed that the measures taken on the safety of products should comply with the requirements of WTO/SPS and WTO/TBT Agreements, and the measures would be taken to improve human health, animal health and phytosanitary situation and to promote the sound development of trade among the three countries.

18. We encouraged the three countries to put in place consultation and cooperation mechanisms for quality inspection and quarantine to promote and contribute to the sound development of trade.

19. We welcomed the progress made by the three countries in developing sea-land combined transportation and establishing the Northeast Asia Logistics Information Service Network, and encouraged the comprehensive advancement of sea-land combined transportation cooperation in the region and expedited expansion of the network services.

20. We stressed the importance of information and communications cooperation for social and economic development in the three countries, and expressed support for further exchanges and cooperation.

21. We encouraged and supported trilateral sub-regional cooperation among the three countries such as the Yellow Sea Rim Economic and Technological Conference, to promote the further development of economic and trade cooperation of the three countries.

Promoting Sustainable Development

22. We emphasized the significance of developing a circular economy for the long-term and steady economic growth of the three countries as well as harmonizing economic development and environmental protection. We recognized the importance of the building of the China-Japan-Korea Circular Economy Model Base. We expressed our appreciation for China’s efforts in proposing candidate sites of China-Japan-Korea Circular Economy Model Bases in China, and expected greater efforts to be made so that the model bases could play a demonstration role at an early date. Meanwhile, we decided to continue in-depth consultations and explore to build circular economy model bases with different characteristics according to the three countries’ respective needs.

23. We spoke highly of the achievements of the 14th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting (TEMM14) held in Beijing in May this year, and welcomed the progress made in implementing the Tripartite Joint Action Plan on Environmental Cooperation (2010-2014). We were pleased to see the progress towards the establishment of a cooperation mechanism among the three countries to jointly combat illegal trans-boundary movement of waste including e-waste, and expressed the hope that more joint studies would be conducted in this field to make better use of the cooperation mechanism. We noted that dust and sandstorms (DSS) were one of the regional environmental challenges and confirmed the need to strengthen joint cooperation on DSS among the three countries. Also, we recognized the importance of tackling trans-boundary air pollution in the region. We encouraged the three countries to engage in cooperation in access and benefit sharing of genetic resources (ABS) as well as the exchanges of environmental protection technologies. We welcomed Japan’s offer to host the Seminar on Counter-Measures against Disaster in 2012, which was supported by TEMM 14.

24. We shared the view that green growth and low-carbon growth was essential for sustainable development and in reconciling environment protection with economic growth. Referring to the Cooperation toward Sustainable Growth Through Promotion of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency adopted at the Fourth Trilateral Summit Meeting in 2011, we welcomed the cooperation among the three countries to realize green growth and low-carbon growth on the basis of the document stated above, including the Green Technology Forum in March 2012 in Japan, the active people-to-people exchanges among young policymakers and the cooperation in making use of the existing international frameworks, such as the Clean Energy Ministerial, APEC and IPEEC.

25. We acknowledged the vast potential and challenges for green growth and low-carbon growth in East Asia including the three countries. In this context, we welcomed the Honolulu Declaration issued by the APEC Leaders in November 2011 and the outcome of the East Asia Low-Carbon Growth Partnership Dialogue on 15 April in Tokyo, Japan, with the hope that further dialogue to deepen cooperation would continue in this region.

26. We recognized the important role of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in providing support to developing countries on their green growth strategies in collaboration with other international organizations and development implementing agencies.

27. We welcomed the efforts made by the three countries towards the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the early entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) and confirmed the importance of close trilateral cooperation.

28. We welcomed the convocation of and the progress made at the Fourth Northeast Asian Top Regulators’ Meeting on Nuclear Safety held in Japan in November last year. We encouraged nuclear safety regulation authorities of the three countries to conduct substantial cooperation in line with the List of Action Items attached to the Cooperative Nuclear Safety Initiative of the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea and Japan. We also recognized the importance of the success of the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety to be held in December 2012 in Japan for further progress in international nuclear safety.

29. We recognized the importance of the trilateral cooperation in order to address potential massive earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions. We noted the significance in the exchange of weather observations and forecast data in light of the increasing trade volume as well as the number of travelers among the three countries, and encouraged discussions for ways to exchange regional weather data in the framework of World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

30. We recognized the importance of a regular meeting mechanism for the three countries’ health ministers and pragmatic cooperation among the three countries in the prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, food safety, clinical trials, emergency preparedness and response and health-related MDGs. We reaffirmed the need for better health cooperation in enhancing the health and wellbeing of the people.

31. We emphasized the importance of advancing the Joint Research Collaboration Program and the A3 Foresight Program in upgrading the scientific and technological levels, innovation capabilities and industrial and technological competitiveness of the three countries, and encouraged the three countries to increase financial and human input to enhance the effectiveness and influence of the two programs.

32. We reaffirmed the importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women in achieving sustainable development, and decided to enhance cooperation among the three countries to promote gender equality.

33. Sharing common concern for the recent hike of global energy price, we are aiming at enhancing our cooperation for the stability of the energy market.

34. We welcomed the First China-Japan-Korea Trilateral Agricultural Ministers’ Meeting successfully held in Jeju Island from 14 to 15 April in an effort to ensure sustainable development and growth in production and productivity in agriculture. We appreciated the adoption of the Joint Communique on agricultural cooperation at the Meeting, including the decision to hold the trilateral agricultural ministerial meeting annually.

35. We reiterated the importance of strengthening trilateral cooperation in agriculture, sustainable forest management, combating desertification and wildlife conservation, and decided to promote such cooperation as set forth in the Annexes.

Expanding Social, People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges

36. We noted that a number of cultural exchange activities that have been planned, organized and implemented by the three countries since 2008 have effectively enhanced the understanding, mutual trust and friendship among the people of the three countries. We encouraged and supported the cultural ministries of the three countries to hold more activities, especially to launch the “East Asian Cultural City” program at an appropriate time, and initiate consultations on the “China-Japan-ROK Culture and Art Festival” project in the medium to long term. We encouraged the three countries to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in cultural heritage protection and cultural industry development.

37. To further promote trilateral educational cooperation, we decided to continue our efforts in building the mechanism of Trilateral Education Ministerial Meeting. We welcomed the university exchanges pilot program of “CAMPUS Asia” launched by the three countries, and looked forward to the success of the pilot programs. We encouraged the three countries to make a contribution to the establishment of a shared quality assurance framework in Asia through the pilot programs and to further expand the scale and scope of the programs so as to cultivate more and better talents for the region.

38. We shared the importance of public diplomacy, a way of further enhancing people-to-people understanding and mutual trust. We encouraged and supported the foreign ministries of the three countries to further explore ways to cooperate in this field, and to initiate consultations on a trilateral forum on public diplomacy at an appropriate time.

39. We confirmed the importance of tourism exchange among the three countries and shared the view that the three countries should make joint efforts to promote tourism from a long-term standpoint, sharing a common vision of tourism in the future, through various measures including the review of its own procedures. We encouraged the three countries to further ease visa requirements and expand sister/friendship city exchanges to achieve the target of 26 million tourist visits among the three countries by 2015.

40. We noted that, since the establishment of the trilateral personnel policy network mechanism in 2005, the three countries have convened the Personnel Ministers’ Meeting and have launched young civil servants exchange programs that have effectively promoted the reform and development in the field of personnel administration of the three countries respectively. We expected the three countries to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation in this field.

41. We welcomed the friendly exchange activities launched by China and Japan to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties and those held by China and the ROK to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, as well as the activities to celebrate the 10th anniversary of co-hosting 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan. We welcomed friendly exchange activities among people of all walks of life, especially among the young people of the three countries, and encouraged the three countries to expand trilateral media, academia, business community, sports and other non-governmental exchanges to promote the spirit of peace and friendship, enhance people-to-people friendships, and consolidate the social foundation for the trilateral friendship and cooperation.

Strengthening Communication and Coordination in Regional and International Affairs

42. We stressed the mutually reinforcing and complementary roles of the trilateral cooperation and such regional fora as ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three, East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in the evolving regional architecture of East Asia with a view to realizing a peaceful, stable and prosperous East Asia.

43. Regarding ASEAN as an important partner in regional cooperation, we reaffirmed our support for ASEAN’s leading role in East Asia cooperation. We expressed our willingness to make joint efforts to help the development of ASEAN countries and community building of ASEAN. We will support ASEAN in its efforts to implement the “ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity” and strengthen cooperation with ASEAN in such areas as food, energy, science and technology, environment protection and disaster management. We expressed our willingness to join hands with ASEAN to deepen financial cooperation within the framework of ASEAN Plus Three.

44. With regard to advancing economic integration in East Asia, we reaffirmed that the ASEAN Plus Working Groups need to be established without delay to accelerate the discussion on a regional comprehensive economic partnership towards the commencement of negotiations, taking into account the initiatives of East Asia Free Trade Area (EAFTA) and Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA).

45. We supported the three countries to strengthen communication and coordination to jointly tackle global challenges such as climate change, financial risks, energy and food security, public health, natural disasters, terrorism, disarmament and proliferation of WMD, to promote common development and achieve mutual benefit and win-win results.

46. We reaffirmed that it was of utmost importance to accelerate the efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. We will further cooperate in discussion on formulating the global development agenda beyond 2015, fully taking into account the evaluation and experiences of the current MDGs, in the context of new global challenges. And we support the United Nations to play a leading role in formulating the global development agenda beyond 2015. We also recognized that the G20 development agenda could contribute to enhancing these global efforts.

47. We welcomed the successful conclusion of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit which will further strengthen nuclear security. Japan and China congratulated ROK’s presidency and the ROK appreciated Japan and China’s constructive contribution throughout the Summit.

48. We will strengthen communication and coordination and work together to make a positive contribution to the success of the G20 Summit, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the ASEM Summit, the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the East Asia Summit to be held later this year.

49. We decided to strengthen our efforts to enhance the role of G20. We are committed to contributing to the success of the Los Cabos Summit, with a focus on the most pressing issues of world economy, such as promoting economic recovery and growth, securing global financial stability, implementing the 2010 IMF quota and governance reform within the agreed timeline, resisting trade protectionism, and further promoting development agenda. We will closely work with each other in order to jointly advance the G20 summit process to achieve strong, sustainable, and balanced global growth.

50. We look forward to the 6th Trilateral Summit Meeting, which will be held in the Republic of Korea in 2013.

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