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Chinese Premier Hails ‘Restart’ In Relations With South Korea, Japan

China, Japan, South Korea

Chinese Premier Li Qiang praised what he called a “restart” in relations with Japan and South Korea. The Chinese premier met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Seoul with the focus on to revitalise three-party free trade agreement negotiations. The agreements had been stalled since 2019.

China, Japan, South Korea ‘restart’ relations

Li said the meeting was “both a restart and a new beginning.” He called for the comprehensive resumption of cooperation between East Asia’s economic powerhouses.

“For China, South Korea, and Japan, our close ties will not change, the spirit of cooperation achieved through crisis response will not change and our mission to safeguard regional peace and stability will not change.” Li also called for an end to protectionism and the decoupling of supply chains.

Joint declaration after summit

A joint declaration released after the meeting called for China, Japan, and South Korea to formalise more regular communication at the highest levels, and collaborate on climate change, conservation, health, trade and international peace, among other areas.

The declaration also set a goal of boosting the number of people-to-people exchanges to 40 million by 2030 through exchanges in culture, tourism and education.

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New mark of progress

The three countries have managed through the meeting to create a “new mark” of progress. China and U.S.-allied South Korea and Japan are trying to manage mutual distrust amid the rivalry between Beijing and Washington and tensions over Taiwan.

Yoon and Kishida have charted a closer course with each other and Washington in recent times. They have embarked on unprecedented three-way cooperation with the US on military and other measures.

Yoon said the leaders agreed to build a transparent and predictable trade and supply chain environment but did not elaborate.