China, Japan, South Korea pledge support to region’s peace, growth (Second lead)

December 13th, 2008 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Fukuoka (Japan), Dec 13 (Xinhua) Leaders of China, Japan and South Korea Saturday vowed to work together to fight the global financial meltdown and help the region achieve steady and sustainable growth.In a joint statement signed after a tripartite summit meeting here, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said they would work to promote tripartite partnership “to create a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future for the region and international community”.

The statement said that it was crucial to address the serious challenges in the global economy and the financial markets.

“We have reached common recognition that the tripartite cooperation will be guided under the principle of openness, transparency, mutual trust, common interest and respect for our diverse cultures”, the statement said adding that the tripartite partnership would also strive to advance the cause various regional blocs in a complementary and mutually reinforcing manner.

The statement also said the tripartite meeting in Fukuoka will pave the way for a new era of tripartite partnership which will lead to the peace and sustainable development in the region.

Japan is now China’s third largest trading partner, while China is Japan’s largest trading partner. China has become South Korea’s biggest trading partner and bilateral trade reached $159 billion last year.

Lee invited Aso to visit South Korea early in the new year, an invitation Aso said he intended to take up as early as possible, Kyodo reported.

Ties between Japan and South Korea have been strained in the past over Japan’s handling of its war history and a territorial dispute over two uninhabited islets.

Aso and Lee said they hoped to expand ties.

Aso also said he supported an early resumption of talks on a free trade agreement with South Korea, which Lee said he was open to.

The two countries agreed to expand a currency swap to $30 billion to stabilize the South Korean won.

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