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Foreign ministers from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea vowed on Sunday to do their best to cool tensions as Pyongyang prepares a satellite launch.
The move was welcomed by Chinese experts who said that the vow seemed to indicate that Tokyo and Seoul are unwilling to resort to military force in response to the launch.
"We ask Pyongyang to show restraint," Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba told reporters at a joint news conference after a two-hour meeting with his counterparts from Beijing and Seoul.
"The three countries will exert the utmost diplomatic effort. I think this agreement is an important achievement," he said.
The three foreign ministers met in the port city of Ningbo, Zhejiang province, to, among other things, prepare for the meeting of leaders of the three East Asian neighbors in China later this year.
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Beijing is "concerned" about the launch.
"China strongly encourages everyone involved to remain calm and reasonable," Yang said. "These issues need to be worked out in a diplomatic and peaceful manner. It is in the common interest to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and realize long-term peace and stability in northeastern Asia."
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (center), his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba (right) and ROK Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan pose for photographers before meeting on Sunday in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang province. [Photo/Agencies]