Daily Management Review

At Trilateral Summit China Urges South Korea, Japan, And Taiwan To Oppose "Protectionism" 


At Trilateral Summit China Urges South Korea, Japan, And Taiwan To Oppose "Protectionism" 
China asked South Korea and Japan during a trilateral conference in Seoul on Monday to support free trade and reject "protectionism."
During his meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Chinese Premier Li Qiang expressed his opposition to transforming trade and economic affairs into “political games or security matters,” according to Chinese official media.
According to Xinhua, Li stated that the three nations have to view one another as "partners and opportunities for development."
In an effort to strengthen their security and economic relations, China, Japan, and South Korea are holding their ninth trilateral summit, although it is their first in more than four years.
The three presidents decided to "institutionalise" three-way collaboration by scheduling frequent ministerial meetings and trilateral summits in a joint statement issued following the summit.
Furthermore, they decided to keep up the "speeding up negotiations" process in order to reach a free trade deal that is "fair, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial."
Even while the meeting doesn't "transfer into some kind of concrete initiative," it was crucial for maintaining calm between the three nations, according to Stephen Nagy, a professor at Tokyo's International Christian University.
China hopes to entice Japan and South Korea away from the proposals that the US has made, he said on Monday.
"Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington have come together through the Camp David principles with great success under President Biden," he said, adding that China is leery of this cooperation and seeks to create a "wedge" between the US, South Korea, and Japan.
Given North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, regional security is a top priority at the moment of the meeting. Pyongyang declared preparations to fire a missile just before the meeting.
Together, the three nations demanded that the Korean Peninsula be denuclearized and vowed to "make positive efforts for the political settlement" of the conflict.
According to Nagy, China has "very little leverage when it comes to North Korea," which is something that both Japan and South Korea are aware of.
"If there is going to be any kind of cooperation in stemming weapons proliferation from North Korea, it will come from cooperating with each other and with the United States, not from working specifically from China," he continued.
Regarding the economy, the nations decided to provide clear and fair playing fields for investment and commerce on a worldwide scale.
They said in the statement, "We share the need to continue communication in the field of export control."
Tobias Harris, deputy director of the Asia Programme of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, stated that China is a significant market that neither nation should ignore.
Prior to the meeting on Monday, he stated, "It's a big market, I don't think any of them are in a position to give up on China as a market to sell things to," and he acknowledged that it would be difficult going forward.
Li had one-on-one meetings with the leaders of South Korea and Japan the night before the summit. He also urged both nations to protect the world free trade system and preserve an uninterrupted supply chain.
In their discussions with Li over the weekend, Japan's Kishida claimed to have voiced "serious concerns" over matters including the South China Sea situation.
Additionally, he said that China's military actions close to Taiwan were being closely observed by Japan, among other pertinent events in Taiwan. The international community, including Japan, places great importance on maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, as highlighted by the prime minister of Japan.
According to Harris, Beijing and Tokyo will both want to look for ways to maintain stability in their relationship.
However, he noted that it is "very hard to insulate Japan-China economic relationship from all of those developments" due to the security situation and the fact that Japan has come closer to supporting Taiwan and cooperating with the United States.