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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media on Premier Li Keqiang's Visit to ROK and Attendance at Sixth Trilateral Leaders' Meeting of China, Japan and ROK

2015/10/26

On October 26, 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media on Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) and attendance at the sixth trilateral leaders' meeting of China, Japan and the ROK. Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and Assistant Commerce Minister Tong Daochi briefed on the relevant information and answered questions from the Chinese and foreign journalists.

I. On the visit to the ROK

Liu Zhenmin said that the ROK is an important neighbor around China. In recent years, China-ROK exchanges and cooperation in various fields have entered a "fast lane" of comprehensive and in-depth development. The two heads of state exchanged visits in 2013 and 2014 and had frequent meetings in multilateral occasions. Both sides agreed that China and the ROK will endeavor to become "four partners" to realize common development, strive for regional peace, jointly revitalize Asia and promote world prosperity. Last year witnessed a bilateral trade volume of nearly 300 billion USD, the official signing of the China-ROK free trade agreement and bilateral personnel exchanges of ten million people. Both sides maintain sound communication and coordination in many regional and international affairs as well.

It is Premier Li Keqiang's first visit to the ROK since he took office and also the second time that the Chinese Premier visits the ROK after five years. It is of great significance to maintaining the good momentum of bilateral high-level exchanges, pushing forward bilateral practical cooperation in various fields and promoting the development of China-ROK relations toward the "four partners". During the visit, Premier Li Keqiang will attend the welcome ceremony hosted by President Park Geun-hye, hold talks with President Park Geun-hye and attend the welcome banquet, meet with Speaker of the National Assembly Chung Ui-hwa and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, and attend a series of important economic, trade and people-to-people activities.

During the visit, leaders of both sides will have in-depth exchanges of views on promoting the development of China-ROK relations, increasing political mutual trust and deepening practical cooperation in various fields. They will focus on promoting the docking of four pairs of development strategies, namely, between China's "mass entrepreneurship and innovation" and ROK's "Creative Economy", between "Made in China 2025" and ROK's "Manufacturing Innovation 3.0", between their policies on developing the third-party market, and between China's "Belt and Road" initiative and ROK's "Eurasia Initiative". They will strengthen economic, trade and financial cooperation, deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and further strengthen coordination on regional and international affairs of common concern. Both sides will also sign bilateral cooperative documents in fields such as economy, trade, education, environment, science, technology, and people-to-people and cultural engagement. It is believed this visit will promote the development of China-ROK relations for new and greater fruits and make positive contributions to regional peace, development and prosperity.

Tong Daochi said that China and the ROK are both important economies in the world and important economic and trade partners to each other. With a rapid development and fruitful achievements in recent years, China-ROK economic and trade cooperation has become the "ballast" and "propeller" in the development of China-ROK relations and brought tangible benefits to the two peoples.

The two countries are carrying out highly effective cooperation in fields such as the construction of the free trade area, trade, investment, financial cooperation, scientific and technological innovation and local economic cooperation, and are keeping close collaboration and coordination in multilateral, regional and sub-regional cooperation. The economic and trade cooperation of the two countries has surpassed the bilateral cooperation scope, and infused positive energy and new impetus to regional and world economic stability and prosperity.

China is the ROK's largest trading partner, and the ROK is China's third largest trading partner. Both sides are performing their respective domestic review procedure, striving to make the China-ROK free trade agreement come into effect at an early date. At present, the total mutual investment is close to 70 billion USD. China is the ROK's second largest overseas investment destination, and the ROK is China's third largest source of foreign investment.

During the visit, leaders of the two countries will have in-depth exchanges of views on further expanding bilateral economic and trade cooperation. The two governments will sign a series of agreements in economic and trade cooperation, covering many fields such as the joint development of the third-country market, entrepreneurship and innovation, docking of economic development strategies, smart manufacturing, environmental protection, trade facilitation, investment cooperation, intellectual property, inspection and quarantine, the construction of industrial parks, and the planning for trade and economic development, fully reflecting the priority fields and direction of future development of China-ROK economic and trade cooperation.

II. On the attendance at the sixth trilateral leaders' meeting of China, Japan and the ROK

Liu Zhenmin said that China, Japan and the ROK are geographically close, and are the major economies of East Asia and important countries in Asia. China-Japan-ROK cooperation is an important component of East Asian cooperation and a major drive for regional cooperation. In the context of complicated and sensitive international situation and weak global economic recovery, the trilateral leaders' meeting of China, Japan and the ROK is to be held again after three years. Strengthening trilateral cooperation is of great significance to maintaining regional peace and stability and promoting Asian and world economic development.

China-Japan-ROK cooperation began in 1999. In December 2008, leaders of the three countries held the first meeting outside the framework of ASEAN plus China, Japan and the ROK (10+3), deciding to build a future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership. For many years, trilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields have been constantly advanced, with 19 ministerial meetings and over 60 work-level consultation mechanisms having been established. The year 2014 witnessed active people-to-people and cultural exchanges, with 26 million mutual visits by people of the three countries. The trilateral practical cooperation enjoys a solid basis and broad fields, and has brought tangible benefits to people of the three countries.

In recent years, the trilateral cooperation process has been hindered due to reasons known to all. Since the second half of last year, China-Japan and ROK-Japan relations have gradually headed towards stable development. In this March, the China-Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held in Seoul after a lapse of three years. The three sides unanimously agreed to properly handle relevant sensitive issues in the spirit of "reviewing the history and looking into the future" and make joint efforts to enhance trilateral cooperation, and decided to hold the leaders' meeting at their convenience as soon as possible. A series of ministerial meetings were also held by the three countries' departments of economy, trade, finance, culture, health care, tourism, environment and other fields. China-Japan-ROK cooperation has gradually regained its momentum.

During the trilateral leaders' meeting of China, Japan and the ROK, the three sides will review the progress in trilateral cooperation, discuss practical cooperation and exchange views on international and regional issues of common concern. The three leaders will also jointly meet the press and attend the China-Japan-ROK Business Summit. China sincerely hopes that on the basis of reviewing and summarizing the history, the three sides can take the opportunity of this meeting to jointly chart the course for the future development of China-Japan-ROK cooperation, enhance trilateral cooperation in traditional fields such as economy, trade, people-to-people and cultural engagement and sustainable development, expand cooperation in emerging fields, and promote a sound and stable development of trilateral cooperation to benefit the people of the three countries and the whole region.

Tong Daochi said that China, Japan and the ROK play a significant part in the world economic landscape and international economic and trade cooperation. The population of the three countries takes up about 20 percent of the world population. Their economic aggregate contributes to 70 percent of Asia's and 20 percent of the world's. Their foreign exchange reserve accounts for 47 percent of the world's. Both of their total foreign trade volume and outbound investment volume take up 20 percent of the world's. Enhancing the three countries' practical cooperation in economy and trade plays a vital role in advancing the regional integration process and global economic cooperation.

In recent years, the three countries' economic and trade cooperation has been developing steadily. Since the formal launch of negotiation on China-Japan-ROK free trade area in 2012, there have been eight rounds of negotiation, from which positive progress has been achieved. In 2014, the China-Japan-ROK investment agreement formally went into effect, providing a more stable and transparent business climate for the three countries' investors. China-Japan-ROK Yellow Sea Rim economic and technological cooperation continues to move forward. Besides, the three countries keep close communication and coordination on fields of multilateral and regional cooperation such as the World Trade Organization, Group of Twenty, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, regional economic partnership agreement, and China-Japan-ROK and ASEAN cooperation.

During the meeting, Premier Li Keqiang will have in-depth exchanges of views with leaders of the ROK and Japan on economic and trade topics such as international production capacity cooperation, technological innovation, docking of economic development strategies, promotion of China-Japan-ROK free trade area construction and regional economic integration process, promotion of trade facilitation, financial cooperation, coordination on macro policies, Olympic economy, local economic cooperation, environmental protection and circular economy, on which extensive consensus is expected to be reached, promoting the three countries' economic and trade cooperation to stride forward to higher levels, broader fields, larger scales, more diverse forms and more optimized structures.

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