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China and ROK Hold the First Meeting of Dialogue and Cooperation Mechanism of Maritime Affairs

2021/04/14

On April 14, 2021, the first meeting of the China-ROK dialogue and cooperation mechanism of maritime affairs was held via video link. The meeting was co-chaired by Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Hong Liang and Director-General for the Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau of the ROK's Foreign Ministry Choi Hee-deok. Representative from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, China Coast Guard and other departments, as well as the ROK's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Korea Coast Guard attended the meeting.

The meeting was proceeded in a friendly and pragmatic atmosphere. The two sides had an extensive and in-depth exchange of views on China-ROK exchanges and cooperation on maritime affairs and maritime issues of common concern. Both sides hold the view that China-ROK relations enjoy healthy and stable development, and that the dialogue and cooperation mechanism of maritime affairs between the two countries is conducive to expanding maritime exchanges and cooperation, and will enrich the China-ROK strategic cooperative partnership.

The two sides agreed on the framework and operation mode of the mechanism, introduced respective maritime policies and governance, reviewed and envisaged maritime exchanges and practical cooperation between the two countries, and clarified the direction and vision about future cooperation. They pledged to deepen cooperation in areas including marine science and technology, environmental protection, fisheries, search and rescue, shipping, defense, and law enforcement. They also exchanged views on issues including demarcation of territorial waters, and agreed to enhance communication and coordination, properly handle sensitive issues and promote mutual trust, making the Yellow Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

Both sides expressed strong dissatisfaction with the unilateral decision recently made by Japan to dump contaminated radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea, regardless of opposition from the international community, especially its two major neighbors, China and the ROK. The two sides urged Japan to prudently handle the issue of Fukushima radioactive wastewater based on full consultation with international organizations and its neighbors and substantive participation of relevant countries and international organizations. China and the ROK will maintain close communication and coordination, and are willing to work with the international community and regional countries to take necessary measures and actions to jointly tackle this international challenge.

The two sides agreed to hold the second meeting of the China-ROK dialogue and cooperation mechanism of maritime affairs at an appropriate time.

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