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Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing in favor of “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”

Photo: Kim Hong-Ji Agence France-Presse Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (front), South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (center) and Chinese Premier Li Qiang (back) discussed Monday during of a first tripartite summit in almost five years.

France Media Agency in Seoul

Published yesterday at 8:02 a.m. Updated yesterday at 6:36 p.m.

  • Asia

Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing reaffirmed their commitment to “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and peace on Monday at their first tripartite summit in nearly five years, promising to strengthen their economic cooperation and encourage the conclusion of a trilateral free trade agreement.

The talk of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula during the summit in Seoul constitutes a “serious political provocation” which would “violate the constitutional position” of North Korea “as a nuclear-weapon state”, denounced a spokesperson for the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted by the official KCNA agency.

The issue was not officially on the agenda of the talks between South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. But the launch of a satellite announced as imminent by North Korea, a country with nuclear weapons, brought the North Korean question into the summit with a bang.

Before the meeting, Pyongyang had informed the Japanese coast guard of the opening for eight days, during the night of Sunday to Monday, of a window for launching a spy satellite, a launch which would violate sanctions taken at the UN against North Korea.

According to Seoul, the North benefits from aid from Moscow in the space field in exchange for arms deliveries intended for Russian troops in Ukraine. In November, Pyongyang successfully placed a spy satellite into orbit for the first time.

MM. Yoon and Kishida urged Pyongyang to call off the launch, which Yoon said would harm “regional and global peace and stability” and would require a “decisive” response from the international community if carried out.

Silence of China

Mr. Li did not mention the subject during the press conference. China is a key trading partner and strong diplomatic ally of North Korea.

“We reiterate our positions on peace and stability in the region, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the leaders wrote in a joint statement, saying they wanted to “continue positive efforts towards a political settlement” of the issue.

“The denuclearization of North Korea and stability on the Korean Peninsula are in the common interest of the three countries,” Fumio Kishida said when the Chinese premier asked “relevant parties to exercise restraint and prevent the situation from becoming further complicated,” according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has condemned Pyongyang's nuclear tests and supported sanctions aimed at curbing its weapons development.

However, she accused the joint military maneuvers between the United States and South Korea of ​​being at the origin of the escalation of tensions in the region.

The press briefing and the joint statement “clearly showed the difference in opinions” between the three countries, Lee Dong-gyu, a researcher at the Asan Institute in Seoul, told AFP, pointing to “differences in positions diplomatic and security interests of each country.”

Nevertheless, the fact that Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing are seeking to strengthen trilateral cooperation and boost economic ties is a good sign for future agreements, particularly on more delicate subjects such as North Korean nuclear weapons, according to him.

Strengthening cooperation

For this first three-way summit in nearly five years, Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing agreed to strengthen their trilateral cooperation by regularly organizing summits of this type.

On the economic aspect, the three capitals will encourage the conclusion of a tripartite free trade agreement and strive to “accelerate the negotiations”, they declared in a joint press release.

Mr. Yoon also said the three states “decided to create a transparent and predictable environment for trade and investment, and establish a secure supply chain.”

At the summit, Li called on Tokyo and Seoul “not to turn economic and trade issues into political games or security issues, and to reject protectionism and the decoupling or disruption of supply chains,” Xinhua reported.

After their discussions, the three leaders joined business leaders in attending an economic summit aimed at boosting trade among the three country.

Yoon Suk-yeol, president of South Korea since 2022, seeks to improve his country's relations with Japan, a former colonial power, in the face of threats growing numbers of Pyongyang. Tokyo and Seoul are key US allies in Asia.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116