Meeting puts three-way relationship in spotlight

Updated: 2012-04-08 07:55

By Li Xiaokun in Ningbo, Zhejiang (China Daily)

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Top diplomats of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea will tell the public how much their governments cherish cooperation among the three neighbors on Sunday in a high-profile launching ceremony for a single website designated for trilateral cooperation.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his counterparts, Koichiro Gemba from Tokyo and Kim Sung-hwan from Seoul, will show light moments rarely seen in their usually serious diplomatic talks for the new website of the secretariat for cooperation among the three East Asian countries, established last year in Seoul, according to a senior Chinese diplomat.

Qin Gang, spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, also told reporters that Shin Bong-kil, the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat's secretary-general, will make his debut at the regular meeting for top diplomats of the three countries on Sunday.

He will deliver a report on the work of the secretariat in the past months to the three ministers, Qin said.

The three ministers arrived in Ningbo, the second largest city in East China's Zhejiang province, on Saturday. After tense bilateral meetings on Saturday afternoon, they will have their trilateral talks on Sunday, and then meet reporters together.

With heated talks about tensions on the Korean Peninsula brought by Pyongyang's mid-April rocket launch plan dominating media reports about the trilateral meeting, Qin said the Sunday talks will take a long-term view on regional cooperation, mainly focusing on tangible cooperation among the three and preparing for the fifth trilateral summit in China this year, reportedly scheduled in May.

Yang Jian, deputy director-general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Asian Affairs, said in an interview on the eve of the meeting that under the background of "an unpredictable global economy, developing European debt crisis and turmoil in West Asia and North Africa", joint efforts among the three East Asian nations bears special significance for global economy.

She said now the three countries have established an impressive communication network covering 17 ministerial meetings and more than 50 working-level dialogue platforms.

Trilateral trade volume was nearly $700 billion in 2011, according to the senior diplomat. Now China has become the largest trading partner of both Japan and the Republic of Korea.