Leaders resume three-way talks

By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-15 06:51

The leaders of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) yesterday reaffirmed their commitment to peacefully resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and called for "effective steps" to end a standoff in the Six-Party Talks.

The leaders issued the call in a joint statement released following a trilateral summit between Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and ROK President Roh Moo-hyun in Cebu on the sidelines of the 10+3 Summit (ASEAN plus China, Japan and the ROK).

The leaders called for the full implementation of both United Nations sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for testing a nuclear device last October and the measures included in the September 2005 joint statement, in which Pyongyang promised to give up its nuclear programs in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees, according to the statement.

"As important countries in Asia, China, Japan and the ROK shoulder great responsibilities in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in Asia," Wen said in his opening speech at the beginning of the trilateral meeting.

The leaders of China, Japan and the ROK have held a trilateral summit every year since 1999 on the sidelines of ASEAN-related meetings, but did not meet in 2005 because of then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which China and the ROK consider a symbol of Japan's past militarism because it honors 14 class-A war criminals.

China, Japan and ROK are all involved in the six-nation talks. The United States, the DPRK and Russia are the other three sides.

US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who is the top US negotiator in the talks, will return to the region late this week to meet other key parties, but there are no indications that negotiations with Pyongyang will resume any time soon, according to a US State Department official.

In the joint statement, the three leaders also "expressed satisfaction with the recent development of relations", and said they had decided to create a consultative body composed of high-ranking diplomats to work together on regional and international issues and promote political understanding within the region.

The statement said the three had agreed to improve "coordination on major political and diplomatic issues involving the three countries as well as international and regional issues".

(China Daily 01/15/2007 page6)

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