Hopes rise for summit to resume

Updated: 2015-10-08 07:54

By ZHANG YUNBI(China Daily)

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Hopes rise for summit to resume

Yang Houlan, secretary-general of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat. CHINA DAILY

Cooperation between China, ROK and Japan gradually getting back on track, diplomat says

China, the Republic of Korea and Japan will release detailed arrangements for a trilateral summit meeting at an appropriate time and when "conditions are mature", according to a senior Chinese diplomat.

"If the trilateral summit meeting is restarted, it will show that China-Japan-ROK cooperation has emerged from a difficult situation, is back on track and has reached a new stage," Yang Houlan, secretary-general of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat, told China Daily.

Five summits were held before Japan's relationship with its two neighbors encountered historical and territorial tensions in 2012.

Yang noted the failure to hold a summit since 2013 and said he was glad to see trilateral cooperation gradually getting back on track with joint efforts by all parties.

Foreign ministers from the three countries met in March to discuss future teamwork.

After top leaders from China and the ROK exchanged views last month over the summit, a meeting at deputy director-general level was held on Sept 15 at the Seoul-based secretariat to exchange views on trilateral cooperation and holding the summit, Yang said.

He described the summit as a "significant guidance" for teamwork between the three nations and called on them to seize the opportunity to increase cooperation.

He said that if a summit was held, the secretariat's main aim would be to proactively assist the three parties and prepare for the meeting.

"An early resumption of the trilateral summit will inject impetus into trilateral cooperation and accelerate pragmatic cooperation in various fields," Yang said.

"The stable development of trilateral pragmatic cooperation will also create a favorable political atmosphere for the summit."

Yang said the three countries showed their willingness to reach an early conclusion to trilateral free-trade agreement negotiations that were launched at the end of 2012. The eighth round of negotiations was held in Beijing on Sept 24 and 25.

The secretariat, established in September 2011, has been led by Shin Bong-kil from the ROK and Iwatani Shigeo from Japan, each serving a two-year term.

Yang took the secretary-general's post in September on behalf of China.

Before his last posting as Chinese ambassador to Myanmar, he was deeply involved in ROK-related affairs at the Chinese embassy in Seoul from 2000 to 2006.

Yang praised the hard work of his predecessors, and attributed the lack of political mutual trust and worsening national sentiments to issues including historical and territorial ones.

He said good bilateral relations are important foundations for trilateral cooperation.

"When bilateral relationships are in difficulty, there is an inevitable impact on trilateral cooperation," he said.

Yang said the secretariat would encourage trilateral cooperation.

It would increase its own added value and press ahead with public diplomacy to come up with more feasible policy suggestions.