China is hosting the Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) from May 13 to 14, as the coordinator for this year’s trilateral cooperation.
The current trilateral meeting, which kicked off Sunday morning, is chaired by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and attended by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and ROK President Lee Myung-bak.
In November 1999, then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji, Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and ROK President Kim Daejong attended a breakfast meeting on the sidelines of the 10+3 Summit in the Philippines, which marked the beginning of the trilateral cooperation process. The leaders of the three countries decided to turn the trilateral meeting into a regular event in 2000, which was later replaced by an official trilateral leaders’ meeting in 2002. Since then, the meetings have been held back-to-back with the annual 10+3 Summit. So far the leaders have had 11 such meetings.
In 2002, the three countries initially identified economy and trade, information and communication industry, environmental protection, human resources development and culture as the five priority areas for trilateral cooperation. In 2007, six new areas, including finance, science and technology, logistics, health, tourism and youth exchanges, were added to the list of cooperation priorities. China, Japan and the ROK are now carrying out practical cooperation in over 20 areas, covering the economic, social and other dimensions of the relations among them.
In December 2008, the leaders of the three countries met for the first time outside the 10+3 framework in Fukuoka, Japan, and decided to build a future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership. The three countries also decided to hold separate annual trilateral summit meetings on a rotating basis while keeping the mechanism of trilateral leaders’ meeting on the sidelines of the 10+3 Summit.
In October 2009, the Second Trilateral Summit Meeting was held in Beijing to commemorate the 10th anniversary of trilateral cooperation. In May 2010, the Third Trilateral Summit Meeting was held in Jeju, the ROK, during which the leaders of the three countries shared their vision for trilateral cooperation in the next ten years. In May 2011, against the backdrop of the severe disasters in Japan, the leaders of the three countries attended the Fourth Trilateral Summit Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, and agreed to expand trilateral cooperation in earthquake, disaster management, nuclear safety and other fields. This year, China is the host the Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting.
The main documents on China-Japan-ROK cooperation include the Joint Declaration on the Promotion of Tripartite Cooperation (2003), the Joint Press Statement of the Seventh Summit Meeting (2007), the Joint Statement for Tripartite Partnership (2008), the Joint Statement on the Tenth Anniversary of Trilateral Cooperation (2009), the Trilateral Cooperation VISION 2020 (2010) and the Declaration of the Fourth Trilateral Summit Meeting (2011).
After more than ten years of development of the cooperation, the three countries have established a full-fledged mechanism for cooperation, and formed an all-dimensional, multi-tiered and wide-ranging cooperation framework with the Trilateral Summit Meeting at its core, and supported by 18 ministerial meetings in areas like foreign policy, economy and trade, science and technology and culture and over 50 working-level mechanisms.