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Foreign media speak highly of Premier Li’s ROK visit

Updated: Nov 3,2015 5:22 PM

Premier Li Keqiang’s three-day visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) which ended on Nov 2 drew praise from foreign media, which said the visit pushed China-ROK ties to an even higher level and brought a positive sign for peace and stability of East Asia.

During the Premier’s visit, he held talks with ROK President Park Geun-hye, attended the trilateral China-Japan-ROK summit which resumed after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus and held a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the request of the Japanese side.

During his stay, the Premier agreed with the ROK president to connect national development strategies, strengthen cooperation in innovation and entrepreneurship and promote the level of bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

In a joint declaration after the trilateral summit, China, Japan and the ROK stressed the importance of three-way cooperation to regional cooperation in order to promote peace and prosperity.

The Korea Herald said in an editorial that a significant achievement of the trilateral summit was the statement that China-ROK ties “are growing not only in the economic sphere, but also in the political and security fields.”

“The summit meeting, originally scheduled to last an hour, stretched out to nearly two hours, indicating the scope and depth of the talks Park and Li held. It also indicates a cozy relationship between the two countries,” said the editorial, adding that “indeed relations with China seem to be on a high note.”

Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun noted that the agreement reached by China, Japan and the ROK at the trilateral summit to speed up talks on a trilateral free trade agreement “has raised hopes that the move will help break the deadlock in the trade talks.”

“If the trilateral free trade agreement talks are to progress, it would give momentum to ongoing negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, in which 16 countries in East Asia, including Japan, China and the South Korea as well as Association of Southeast Asian Nations members are participating,” said the Mainichi Shimbun.

Calling continued trilateral talks “indispensable for the stability of East Asia,” the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Shimbun said: “despite many problems remaining between the two countries, Tokyo-Beijing dialogue must be continued in a productive manner from a comprehensive point of view.”

Media of the United States also think positively of the trilateral summit, saying that the summit itself “is progress.”

“Sunday’s meeting of East Asia’s top powers, their first in three years, is mostly about starting up cordial relations. But that alone is progress,” said the Massachusetts-based Christian Science Monitor .

“The fact that the meeting is being held at all is 90 percent of what will be accomplished,” Daniel Sneider, associate director of the Asia Pacific Research Center at Stanford University, told the newspaper.

“The most important thing is to find ways to shelve our differences and focus on economics,” Wang Dong, who teaches international relations at Peking University, told the Monitor. “Economic cooperation is so important that we can no longer put it aside ... and eventually people realize that it is in their mutual interests to take more pragmatic attitudes.”

Han Sung-joo, a former foreign minister for the ROK, told the newspaper that the summit “won’t be a turning point, but it will be a step in the right direction. It’s something to build on.”

“A negative, hostile atmosphere prevailed in the past, but they’re now paving the way for better dialogue. That’s the biggest meaning of this trilateral summit,” Bong Youngshik, a senior researcher at Seoul’s Asian Institute for Policy Studies, told The Associated Press . “It’s a positive sign.”