Yoon voices hope for swift reactivation of S. Korea-China-Japan cooperation

President Yoon Suk-yeol on Saturday voiced hope for a swift reactivation of trilateral cooperation mechanisms among South Korea, China and Japan, while also proposing areas to strengthen collaboration between the three nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Yoon made the remarks during an ASEAN Plus Three summit, which brought together the leaders of nine ASEAN countries, and South Korea, China, and Japan. Myanmar, an ASEAN member, did not take part.

“South Korea will play an active role as this year’s chair of the South Korea-China-Japan summit, and coordinator representing South Korea, China, and Japan for the ASEAN Plus Three,” Yoon said. “I hope trilateral cooperation mechanisms, including the South Korea-China-Japan summit, will be swiftly reactivated.”

The three nations have not held a trilateral summit since December 2019 amid a deterioration of bilateral ties among them and the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attended Saturday’s ASEAN Plus Three gathering, but they did not hold a separate trilateral meeting with Yoon.

Yoon also presented ideas to strengthen cooperation between the three East Asian nations and ASEAN, noting this year marks 25 years since the launch of the ASEAN Plus Three.

He said stronger cooperation must be premised on regional stability and peace, and stated South Korea’s support for ASEAN’s efforts to resolve the Myanmar crisis.

“President Yoon also pointed out that North Korea’s successive provocations and attempts to reinforce its nuclear and missile capabilities are a direct and serious threat to the international community, and emphasized that the international community should respond firmly with one voice in the event North Korea launches another intercontinental ballistic missile and stages its seventh nuclear test,” the presidential office said in a press release.

Yoon reaffirmed the door remains open to dialogue with the North and that Seoul is prepared to offer bold economic assistance to the North should it respond to his administration’s “audacious plan,” which promises economic aid in exchange for a denuclearization commitment.

The ASEAN leaders expressed concern over North Korea’s nuclear program “with one voice,” and urged the North to quickly halt activities threatening regional peace and return to denuclearization talks, according to the presidential office.

Yoon further promised to help strengthen cooperation among the ASEAN Plus Three through the smooth operation of currency swap agreements, continued contributions to an emergency rice reserve and the implementation of ASEAN-specific health projects.

“I hope we will further strengthen cooperation going forward to overcome the multiple crises we face,” he said, citing war and human rights violations, as well as a crisis in food security and energy security. “I believe we must overcome these complex crises through our solidarity and cooperation.”

Yoon said there will be results for international peace and prosperity if ASEAN and the three East Asian nations respond jointly to challenges.

On the summit’s sidelines, Yoon met separately with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

The two congratulated each other on this year’s 30th anniversary of the two countries’ establishment of diplomatic ties and agreed to further increase political exchanges while cooperating closely for a successful visit to South Korea by Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc before the end of the year.

 

 

 

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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