China, Japan, and South Korea In Discussions to Reject Protectionism

( – China urged Japan and South Korea to reject protectionism and to support and uphold free trade.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol at a trilateral summit in Seoul. Li Qiang said that he was opposed to turning trade issues and economic issues into “political games or security matters.”

Li said that the three countries could see each other as “partners and opportunities for development.” This is the ninth meeting between the three countries, but their last meeting was four years ago. After the meeting, the three put out a joint statement that said they agreed to “institutionalize” three-way cooperation by holding trilateral meetings.

They also agreed to continue talking about a free trade agreement that would be aimed at being “fair, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial.”

Stephen Nagy, a professor at International Christian University in Tokyo, said that the summit was critical to stabilizing the relationship between the three countries. He continued to say that China wants to drive South Korea and Japan away from initiatives put in place by the U.S.

“Under President Biden, there’s been tremendous success in terms of bringing Seoul, Tokyo and Washington together through the Camp David principles,” he said.

The summit comes as tensions between countries are high. North Korea is one common opposition that they are banding together against as they seek the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Nagy stated that if there is any success in taking weapons from North Korea, it won’t come just from working with China but from working together with the United States as well.

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