China–Japan–South Korea trilateral summit
Map of East Asia indicating China (red),
Japan (green) and South Korea (blue).
The China–Japan–South Korea trilateral summit is an annual summit held between the People's Republic of China, Japan and South Korea. The first was held during December 2008 in Fukuoka, Japan. The talks are focused on maintaining strong international relations, the global economy and disaster relief.
The summits were first proposed by South Korea in 2004, as a meeting outside of the framework of the ASEAN(+3), with the three major economies of East Asia having a separate community forum. In November 2007 during the ASEAN(+3) meeting, the leaders of China, Japan and Korea held their eighth meeting, and decided to strengthen political dialogue and consultations between the three countries, eventually deciding on an ad hoc meeting to be held in 2008.
In September 2011, the three countries launched a Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat in Seoul. South Korea's Shin Bong-kil, a former ambassador for international economic cooperation, was appointed the first rotating headship as secretary-general, with Mao Ning from China and Rui Matsukawa from Japan as his deputies. They will each serve a two-year term.
|Summit||Host Country||Host Leader||Host City||Date|
|1st||Japan||Taro Aso||Fukuoka||13 December 2008|
|2nd||China||Wen Jiabao||Beijing||10 October 2009|
|3rd||South Korea||Lee Myung-bak||Jeju||29 May 2010|
|4th||Japan||Naoto Kan||Fukushima & Tokyo||21–22 May 2011|
|5th||China||Wen Jiabao||Beijing||13–14 May 2012|
|6th||South Korea||Park Geun-hye (expected)||TBD||May 2013|
Foreign Minister summits
|Summit||Host Country||Host Minister||Host City||Date|
|1st||South Korea||Song Min-soon||Jeju||3 June 2007|
|2nd||Japan||Masahiko Kōmura||Tokyo||14 June 2008|
|3rd||China||Yang Jiechi||Shanghai||28 September 2009|
|4th||South Korea||Yu Myung-hwan||Gyeongju||15 May 2010|
|5th||Japan||Takeaki Matsumoto||Kyoto||19 March 2011|
|6th||China||Yang Jiechi||Ningbo||8 April 2012|
|7th||South Korea||TBD||TBD||April 2013|
Leader summits at EAS
|Summit||Host Country||Host City||Date|
|1st||Philippines||Manila||29 November 1999|
|2nd||Singapore||Singapore||24 November 2000|
|3rd||Brunei||Bandar Seri Begawan||5 November 2001|
|4th||Cambodia||Phnom Penh||4 November 2002|
|5th||Indonesia||Bali||7 October 2003|
|6th||Laos||Vientiane||29 November 2004|
|7th||Philippines||Cebu||14 January 2007|
|8th||Singapore||Singapore||20 November 2007|
|9th||Thailand||Pattaya||11 April 2009|
|10th||Vietnam||Hanoi||29 October 2010|
|11th||Indonesia||Bali||19 November 2011|
The first separate meeting of the leaders of the three countries was held in Fukuoka, Japan. During the meeting, the "Joint Statement between the three partners" was signed and issued, which identified the direction and principles behind cooperation between China, Japan and South Korea. The conference adopted the "International Financial and Economic Issues Joint Statement", "Disaster Management of the Three Countries Joint Statement" and "Action plan to promote cooperation between China, Japan and South Korea".
One of the topics discussed focused in the improvement of future relations between the three countries, from strategic and long-term perspectives. Prior talks between the three countries have been hindered specifically by various territorial and historical disputes. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao stated that "China is willing to make joint efforts with Japan to continue to develop the strategic and mutually beneficial ties in a healthy and stable manner, to benefit the peoples of the two countries and other nations in the region as well."  Japanese prime minister Taro Aso also expressed that he believed the best manner in dealing with the economic crisis of 2008 was economic partnership. There is also speculation of a future regional free-trade agreement. Such co-operation would greatly benefit the three nations, which account for two thirds of total trade, 40% of total population and three quarters  of the GDP of Asia (20% of global GDP ), during the ongoing economic crisis.
The second summit was held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Despite the worries of limitations that the summit has faced in 2008, this all changed in 2009, when Japan, China and Korea were forced to coordinate and cooperate more closely to manage the regional effects of the global financial crisis.
In their joint statement on the crisis, the trio identified the need to cooperate on global issues (such as financial risk) and in global institutions, including at the G20. While a reaction to global events, this cooperation began to significantly affect the management of East Asia. Over the course of 2009, the three nations resolved their long running dispute over contributions (and thus voting weight) in the Chiang Mai Initiatives, the first major ‘success’ of the ASEAN Plus Three process. The three nations also worked together to push through a general capital increase at the Asian Development Bank to help it fight the effects of the global financial crisis, a decision mandated by the G20 but about which the US appeared ambivalent.
Because the previous three summit meetings covered a wide range of world issues, they did not produce any concrete outcome. There was no agreement on North Korea’s nuclear development or on the March and September 2010 incidents involving North Korea. Moreover, although the leaders of the three countries had agreed to set up a permanent secretariat headquartered in Seoul to facilitate trilateral cooperation, it has still not been implemented. The three leaders had also agreed to strengthen mutual understanding and trust, expand cooperation in trade, investment, finance, and environmental protection. Not much progress has been achieved in these areas as well over the past one year.
The fourth meeting was held in the wake of the nuclear accident at Fukushima and the natural disaster in Japan. Prime Minister Kan Naoto proposed to hold the summit in Fukushima to convey the message to the world that Fukushima has already become a safe place. The Japanese government hoped that if the heads of the three countries gather in the crisis-stricken city, radiation fears will be mitigated. However, due to logistic problems, the meeting could not be held in Fukushima and instead was held in Tokyo.
While Japan was accused of not providing its neighbours with accurate information when radioactive materials leaked at Fukushima, the summit led to agreement to establish an emergency notification system, enhance cooperation among experts, and share information in the event of emergencies.
May 14, 2012, Leaders from China, Japan, and South Korea concluded the Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting and signed the Trilateral Agreement for the Promotion, Facilitation and Protection of Investment (hereinafter referred as the Trilateral Agreement) at a summit in Beijing. The Trilateral Agreement represents a stepping stone towards a three-way free trade pact to counter global economic turbulence and to boost economic growth in Asia.
According to a joint declaration, the three nations will further enhance the “future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership” to unleash vitality into the economic growth of the three countries, accelerate economic integration in East Asia, and facilitate economic recovery and growth in the world.
In the joint declaration, the three nations list directions and prioritization of future cooperation, which includes enhancing mutual political trust, deepening economic and trade cooperation, promoting sustainable development, expanding social, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and strengthening communication and coordination in regional and international affairs.
Among all these proposals, the signing of the Trilateral Agreement and the decision to endorse the recommendation from the trade ministers to launch the trilateral FTA negotiations within this year are at the top of the priority list in deepening economic and trade cooperation.
|Country||Area km²||Population||Population density
|Largest City||2nd Largest City|
|China||9,596,961||1,339,724,852||139.6||0.687 (medium)||Shanghai||Beijing (capital)|
|Japan||377,944||128,056,026||337.1||0.901 (very high)||Tokyo (capital)||Yokohama|
|South Korea||100,210||50,004,441||491||0.897 (very high)||Seoul (capital)||Busan|
|Country||Active Military||Military Budget
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|Military Budget PPP
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|GDP PPP per capita
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Organization and groups
- Chinese, Japanese PMs meet for boosting bilateral ties
- Chinese, Japanese PMs meet, pledge to boost bilateral ties
- China expects positive result at upcoming meeting with ROK, Japan
- CCTV-9 English News, broadcast 13 December 2008
- China, Japan, S Korea to promote co-op on disaster management
- Japan, South Korea, China: trilateral ties, tensions - Yahoo! Malaysia
- China, Japan, S Korea agree to enhance systematic co-op
- Regional summit to tackle crisis - Chinadaily
- A new channel opened up for integration of East Asia - Chinadaily
- ASEAN-China Relations
- SBS World News Australia, 14 December 2008
- Joel Rathus (June 15, 2010). "China-Japan-Korea trilateral cooperation and the East Asian Community". EAST ASIA FORUM. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Rajaram Panda and Pranamita Baruah. "Japan-China-South Korea Trilateral Summit Meet Holds Promise". Institute for defence studies and analysis. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Xiaolei Gu (May 14, 2012). "China-Japan-South Korea Sign Trilateral Agreement and Launch FTA Talks". CHINA BRIEFING. Retrieved 3 October 2012.