TOKYO — Premier Li Keqiang said on May 9 that China, Japan and South Korea should accelerate their negotiations for a trilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and achieve a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at an early date so as to promote the building of an East Asian Economic Community.
During a trilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Tokyo, Premier Li also called on the three economies to jointly open up market through a new cooperation mode of “China-Japan-South Korea+X” in an effort to promote regional development.
China, Japan and South Korea have all benefited from free trade in their respective development and are all advocates of free trade, Premier Li noted.
Under the current circumstances, they should stand more firmly together for rules-based multilateral free trade system and against acts of trade protectionism and unilateralism, he said.
Free trade is also a good recipe for global economic recovery, Premier Li told the press after his meeting with Abe and Moon.
While calling for their markets to further open to each other, Premier Li also said during the meeting that the trio should carry out joint projects in such areas as industrial capacity cooperation, poverty reduction, disaster management and energy efficiency through the mode of “China-Japan-South Korea+X.”
China, Japan and South Korea should give full play to their respective advantages in growth to jointly open up new markets, promoting a rapid development in Asian countries, he said.
Premier Li arrived in Tokyo on May 8 for an official visit to Japan and to attend the 7th China-Japan-South Korea leaders’ meeting. The trilateral meeting was resumed after a two-and-a-half-year suspension.