Kishida: Summit was key opportunity for revitalization of trilateral process

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio says the summit of Japan, China and South Korea was an important opportunity to solidify the revitalization of the trilateral process.

Kishida made the remark during a joint news conference with Chinese Premier Li Qiang and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol after their talks in Seoul on Monday.

Kishida also pledged to further develop relations among the three countries toward the next trilateral summit, which is to be chaired by Japan.

Kishida said the international community faces diverse, complex and interconnected challenges, and there are also major issues common to Japan, China and South Korea, such as declining birthrates and aging populations.

He noted that the three countries share a major responsibility for regional peace and prosperity. He said they reaffirmed their resolve to promote cooperation in a wide range of fields at the meeting, the first trilateral summit in four and a half years.

Regarding negotiations on a free trade agreement among the three countries, Kishida said that he pointed out the importance of maintaining and strengthening a free and fair international economic order.

He said he seeks exchanges of candid opinions among the three nations, which have deep ties in both trade and investment, on a future-oriented free trade deal, including high-level disciplines.

Kishida also mentioned North Korea's notification that it will soon launch what it calls an artificial satellite. He said that if the North presses ahead with the plan, it would be a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. He added that he told the other two leaders that Japan is strongly urging North Korea to cancel the launch.

Kishida said the leaders confirmed that the denuclearization of North Korea and stability of the Korean Peninsula are in the common interest of the three countries.

He said he asked for support for achieving the early resolution of the issue of Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea decades ago. He said he had obtained understanding for the request.

Kishida also said the three countries agreed to designate 2025 and 2026 as years of cultural exchanges and promote intercollegiate exchanges and tourism.