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China, Japan and ROK have every reason to build on thawing ties for common interests: China Daily editorial

Updated: 2023-11-27 19:47
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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa pose for a photo prior to the 10th trilateral foreign ministers' meeting in Busan, South Korea, Nov 26, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

That the foreign ministers of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea met on Sunday for their first trilateral meeting after a hiatus of four years should be considered a positive development for the relations among the three major countries in East Asia.

Given the fact that the GDP of the three economies put together makes up about 25 percent of the world's total and the trade volume among the three constitutes about 20 percent of the world's total, how their cooperation fares has a bearing on the economic development of the world.

No wonder Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Japanese and ROK counterparts that the three countries should play a more proactive role in promoting regional and global development in the face of the headwinds buffeting the global economy.

To this end, Wang called on the three countries to restart negotiations on their trilateral free trade agreement as soon as possible, maintain the momentum of regional economic integration, improve the multi-channel and multi-level regional free trade arrangements, and contribute to the common goal of pushing for a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.

Wang urged his Japanese and ROK counterparts to resist turning regional cooperation into camp politics. He also said in bilateral meetings with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and ROK Foreign Minister Park Jin that economic and technology issues should not be politicized, which is undoubtedly a prerequisite for Japan and the ROK to have good relations with China.

For any sustained improvement in the relations among the three neighbors, it is vital that the three countries show respect for each other and pay due care and attention to each other's core concerns.

It is natural for the three countries to have differences on a range of issues. But as close neighbors and important economic and trade partners to each other, continued communication is essential and they should establish a long-term mechanism to iron out or shelve their differences.

It is also important for the three countries to promote cooperation and exchanges in a wide range of areas, which will hopefully increase political trust among them and thereby facilitate the improvement of bilateral and trilateral relations.

That the three sides agreed to create the necessary conditions and make the relevant preparatory work for the leaders of the three countries to meet is a positive move in this respect. Seoul and Tokyo should be clear about why the annual meeting among the leaders of the three countries agreed upon in 2008 has been suspended since 2020.

They both need to not let Washington guide their actions and they should refrain from following its lead in politicizing economic and technology cooperation and trying to put the brake on China's development. There is no reason for the three countries to let their differences, which can be peacefully resolved, prevail at the expense of the development of their ties.

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