Remarks at the Eighth Trilateral Summit Meeting Among the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea and Japan
H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
Chengdu, 24 December 2019
President Moon Jae-in,
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,
Let me welcome both of you to Chengdu for the eighth Trilateral Summit Meeting. Chengdu is an ancient yet modern city, a historical town with rich cultural heritage, and a front-runner in innovation and opening-up in Southwest China. It is where the intriguing stories of the Kingdom of Shu (A.D. 221-263) in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms took place. And Poet Du Fu (A.D. 712-770) of the Tang Dynasty, known as “Sage of Poetry”, lived here for many years. I understand both these episodes are well-known to many in the ROK and Japan. Historical anecdotes also show that Korean and Japanese monks traveled to Chengdu on religious pilgrimages centuries ago.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the trilateral cooperation. The seedling of this cooperation was planted two decades ago in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis when leaders of our three countries held an informal meeting on the sidelines of the East Asian leaders’ meetings in Manila. Twenty years on, the trilateral cooperation has grown into a lush tree thanks to the joint efforts of the three countries.
We have put in place an all-dimensional cooperation framework centering on the summit meeting, comprising 21 ministerial meetings and supported by the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS). Our practical cooperation covers nearly 30 fields, from economy, trade, transportation, information and telecommunication, customs, to the environment, science and technology, agriculture and forestry. Last year, trilateral trade reached US$720 billion, and investment approached US$12 billion. Our people enjoy ever closer ties, with over 30 million visits exchanged last year. Mutual knowledge and understanding among us have increased.
The trilateral cooperation has bolstered our respective development and brought increasing business opportunities and real benefits to our companies and our people. It has well served the common interests of all our countries.
We are meeting at a time of complex and profound changes in the international landscape. Geopolitical conflicts and hotspot issues keep flaring up amid mounting uncertainties and destabilizing factors. Slowing global growth and trade have put many major economies under downward pressure. Rising protectionism and unilateralism have seriously affected the global industrial chain and international division of labor. These challenges require collective responses from all countries.
At the second China International Import Expo, President Xi Jinping called for joint efforts to build an open world economy through cooperation, with innovation and for mutual benefits. Our three countries, as the powerhouse of the East Asian economy and a major driver of regional cooperation, must step up cooperation in a spirit of mutual help and partnership. While sustaining the momentum of our respective development, we must stand firmly by multilateralism and free trade, and move forward regional economic integration.
First, we need to jointly safeguard regional peace and stability. The situation on the Korean Peninsula has been a focus of attention. Realizing denuclearization and establishing a peace mechanism on the Peninsula is in the interest of all three countries. We need to leverage our respective strengths and intensify coordination and collaboration. Guided by the “dual-track approach” and the principle of “phased and synchronized progress”, we need to properly address the legitimate concerns of all parties, identify ways for bridging differences, and facilitate progress in the talks between relevant parties, with a view to ultimately achieving enduring peace and security of our region.
Second, we need to jointly apply a new vision of security. Our world is confronted with growing non-traditional security challenges, such as terrorism, cybersecurity, climate change and major infectious diseases. These have become interwoven with traditional security threats brought by geopolitical tensions and regional hotspots, leading to a complex, volatile security situation prone to varied and interconnected challenges.
As the security challenges confronting humanity defy sovereign boundaries and proliferate worldwide in unconventional ways, no country can stay immune from their impacts or tackle them all by itself. We need to follow a new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and work for the security of the whole region proceeding from our common security interests. Moves to enhance security cooperation should neither target third parties nor undermine regional stability.
Third, we need to jointly pursue openness and inclusiveness. In this increasingly globalized world, we need openness, not barriers; and we need cooperation, not “decoupling”. We live in the same global village where our futures are interlinked. We need to build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind in keeping with the principles of mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a cooperation platform that belongs to the world. It advocates peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, and has opened up new space for the growth of Asia and the world. China welcomes the active participation of the ROK and Japan in this initiative.
Fourth, we need to jointly drive regional cooperation. Our three countries have a combined population of 1.6 billion accounting for 70 percent of East Asia’s total; and our economies, with an aggregate GDP of nearly US$21 trillion, take up nearly 90 percent of the East Asian economy. It is thus incumbent upon us to shoulder the important task of facilitating shared progress and prosperity of our region.
We need to strengthen coordination and collaboration under the frameworks of ASEAN Plus Three, the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Mekong sub-regional cooperation. We need to keep the focus of regional cooperation on East Asia and on development, and preserve and improve the existing East Asian cooperation architecture to better serve the needs of countries in this region.