S. Korea, Japan, China vow joint efforts to denuclearize N. Korea
SEOUL/TOKYO, The leaders of South Korea, Japan and China vowed joined efforts Wednesday to help implement the outcome of a recent summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in which they agreed to pursue complete denuclearization of North Korea and establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.
"We reaffirm that maintaining peace and stability in Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia is our mutual interest and responsibility. We will strengthen our joint efforts toward this goal," the leaders said in a special statement adopted at the end of their three-way summit in Tokyo.
The meeting involved Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
The three leaders also vowed efforts to make the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit a success.
"We, the leaders of Japan, the People's Republic of China and Republic of Korea, strongly hope that, building on result of this Inter-Korean summit, further efforts by relevant parties, in particular through the upcoming U.S-DPRK Summit, will contribute to comprehensive resolution of concerns of the parties for peace anf stability in the region," said the joint statement released by South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Moon and Kim met on April 27 at the border village of Panmunjom.
The inter-Korean summit came after the North Korean leader told a visiting envoy of the South Korean president that his country may be willing to give up its nuclear development program in exchange for a security guarantee.
U.S. President Donald Trump has also agreed to meet Kim, apparently to personally confirm the North's willingness to denuclearize. The first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit is expected to be held later in the month or early next month.
Meeting the two Asian leaders for the first time since his summit with Kim, the South Korean president said the North may be serious about denuclearizing.
"President Moon said he has personally confirmed Chairman Kim's goal of realizing complete denuclearizing and a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through the recent South-North Korea summit," Cheong Wa Dae said. Moon arrived in Tokyo earlier in the day, becoming the first South Korean president to do so in more than six years.
"Prime Minister Abe and Premier Li said Japan and China too will constructively contribute to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula while offering their congratulations and welcome of the successful outcome of the South-North Korea summit," it added.
In a joint declaration, dubbed the Panmunjom Declaration, Moon and Kim also called for a formal end to the Korean War.
The divided Koreas technically remain at war as the 1950-53 war ended only with an armistice. The Panmunjom Declaration also calls for efforts to replace the Korean armistice with a peace treaty.
Li and Abe also expressed their support for the outcome of the inter-Korean summit in their own words.
"I welcome the success of the South-North summit and praise President Moon for his leadership," Abe told a joint press conference held shortly after the three-way summit with Moon and Li. "I evaluate the fact that complete denuclearization (of the Korean Peninsula) was included in the Panmunjom Declaration."
Li pledged China's "constructive" role in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
"China hopes for the restoration of dialogue and political resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue by successfully taking advantage of this opportunity. It hopes for the realization of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and establishment of permanent peace through such an opportunity," he said.
"To this end, China will continue to play a constructive role," the Chinese prime minister added.
Moon highlighted the importance of cooperation between the three countries in securing peace and security in their shared region.
"Most of all, we agreed that complete denuclearization, establishment of permanent peace and improvements in South-North Korea relations are very important to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia," he said.
"I expect and I promise that close communication and cooperation between the three countries will continue in the process of establishing permanent peace," the South Korean leader added.
Moon, Xi and Abe also called for increased exchanges and cooperation among the three countries, resuming the countries' three-way summit talks for the first time since late 2015.
Both Seoul and Beijing have reportedly been reluctant to hold the three-way talks over what they have long claimed to be Japanese attempts to whitewash its war atrocities and colonial rule or invasion of its Asian neighbors.
Tokyo also periodically lays territorial claims to a set of South Korean islets in the East Sea, called Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan, while it has a running territorial dispute with China over a set of uninhabited islands, called the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyutai Islands in China.
"The leaders agreed to expand the countries' practical cooperation to a level that the people of the three countries can actually feel," Cheong Wa Dae said.
To this end, the countries will jointly work to address the issue of air pollution, including fine dust, it added.
The leaders also agreed to work to increase the number of visitors among their three countries to 30 million by 2020.
Source: Yonhap News Agency