Leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea hold trilateral talks in Tokyo

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Leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea hold trilateral talks in Tokyo

The leaders of China, Japan and South Korea are meeting in Tokyo. On their agenda: a regional free trade agreement and the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The three neighbors are trying to restore relations after years of uncertainty.

CGTN’s Terrence Terashima reports.

The trilateral talks between the leaders of China, South Korea, and Japan was a heavy door that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had wanted to pry open for some time.

Exerts say number of catalysts has made it possible.

The three neighbors share same pressure from Washington, as U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to reduce America’s trade deficits. That’s encouraged the three countries to accelerate regional free trade agreements, including a trilateral FTA and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

“By opening our markets to one another at a wider level, our three sides can present tremendous opportunities to other parties, and also develop together with other parties,” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Business leaders from the three nations also gathered for a business summit to set course for greater investments and cooperation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In said that, “The global economy is going through challenges, but I think that this is an opportunity for our three countries.”

However, Abe had other interests.

Left watching the developments of the peace talks on the Korean Peninsula from the sidelines, he wanted to insert Japan’s positions in the negotiation. Uneasy at the pace, Abe feels there has been an unwarranted softening towards Pyongyang, and wants to maintain pressure on the DPRK until concrete actions are seen.

“We must take the recent momentum towards denuclearization on the Korean peninsula and towards peace and security in Northeast Asia, and, cooperating even further with international society, make sure this is linked to concrete action by North Korea,” he insisted.

Abe was advised by Moon to open dialogue with Pyongyang. They both agree on tighter communications in achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

However, analysts say this is only the first step. Abe is hoping to pave way for a regular shuttle diplomacy to accelerate trade talks and amending bilateral ties with China and South Korea.

Sourabh Gupta discusses the trilateral talks between China, Japan, and South Korea

For more on the significance of these trilateral talks, CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Sourabh Gupta, a senior Asia-Pacific international relations policy specialist at the Institute for China-America Studies.