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Regional summit to tackle crisis
By Peng Kuang (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-12-12 07:39

The global financial turmoil will top the agenda when leaders of China, Japan and South Korea meet this weekend, a senior Chinese official and experts said yesterday.

Premier Wen Jiabao, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso are scheduled to hold a summit in the Japanese city of Fukuoka tomorrow.

"Given the current financial crisis, cooperation among the three countries is of great significance," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said yesterday. "We hope the three countries join hands to tackle the crisis."

The three East Asian economic powerhouses, which account for three-quarters of Asia's GDP and two-thirds of its trade, have held meetings on the sidelines of broader international gatherings but it's the first time they will be holding a separate trilateral summit.

"This is the launch of a regional mechanism," said Liu Jiangyong, an expert on Japanese studies at Tsinghua University. "In the past, the three met regularly only on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, typically in ASEAN+3 gatherings."

At a time when falling global demand is hurting their exports - key drivers of the three nations' growth - the meeting is expected to produce coordinated efforts to cope with the current crisis.

"Regional financial cooperation among the three countries will contribute to stabilizing the global financial market," Yan Xuetong, head of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University, said.

China and South Korea witnessed a slowdown since the global financial meltdown intensified in the third quarter, while Japan is struggling in the face of a domestic political deadlock to keep its recession from becoming its worst ever.

(China Daily 12/12/2008 page2)