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NINGBO, Zhejiang - Foreign ministers of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) met Sunday for talks on trilateral cooperation in China's east coast city of Ningbo.
The Sixth Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Meeting among the three nations, chaired by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, was also attended by Yang's Japanese counterpart Gemba Koichiro and ROK counterpart Kim Sung-Hwan.
The ministers "held an in-depth exchange of views on the progress and future direction of the trilateral cooperation, preparations for the Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting, and regional and international issues of common interest," according to a press release issued after the meeting. The trilateral summit is expected to be held in Beijing later this year.
"We shared the view that, as important countries in Asia and beyond, China, the ROK and Japan need to strengthen cooperation as this helps to advance the social and economic development in our countries and contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world at large," China's Yang told reporters after Sunday's meeting.
Yang said the ministers decided to take more concrete and effective measures to further increase political mutual trust, intensify practical cooperation and expand social and cultural exchanges to upgrade the three nations' "future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership."
During the meeting, the ministers also agreed to jointly support the development of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to the release. The members of ASEAN are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
"We reaffirmed our commitment to the early signing of a trilateral investment agreement," said the Chinese foreign minister.
The three nations sealed a long-discussed trilateral investment agreement last month intended to pave the way for closer business ties between them. The investment deal will be the first legal economic agreement between China, Japan and the ROK.
The three ministers agreed to launch FTA negotiations at an early date and building a China-Japan-ROK circular economy model base at a faster pace, according to the release.
During the meeting, the foreign ministers also exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula situation, including the announcement by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to launch a satellite.
China expressed its concern about the development of the situation and called on all parties concerned to take a broad and long-term perspective, remain calm and exercise restraint, and seek proper solutions to the relevant issues through diplomatic channels and by peaceful means.
"China will maintain close communication and coordination with the relevant parties and work with them to play a constructive role in upholding overall peace and stability of the region and advancing the Six-Party Talks process," said the Chinese foreign minister.
On Sunday, the foreign ministers also witnessed the official launch of the website of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS). The secretariat was set up in September 2011 to further boost the trilateral cooperation.
The next Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Meeting is scheduled to be held in the ROK next year.