Joint Press Conference
Note: The opening statements and answers by Premier Wen Jiabao and President Lee Myung-bak, as well as the questions from Chinese and Korean journalists, have been translated into English from the Japanese transcript. As such, they may vary slightly from the phrasing used in the original languages.
PREMIER WEN JIABAO: Members of the press, ladies and gentlemen, good evening. I have just convened the Second Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Trilateral Summit Meeting with President Lee Myung-bak [of the Republic of Korea] and Prime Minister [Yukio] Hatoyama [of Japan]. During our meeting, we engaged in a frank exchange of views and reached broad agreement on trilateral cooperation among Japan, China and the ROK as well as on critical regional and international issues. As the Chair, I am satisfied with the outcome of our talks and I should like to express my sincere appreciation to President Lee and Prime Minister Hatoyama for their significant contributions.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Japan-China-ROK cooperation. Looking back on the history of this cooperation, we are very pleased at the tremendous results we have achieved and we concurred that it is extremely important that we recognise the relations among our three countries from a long-term perspective and from a strategic high ground. The political basis for Japan-China-ROK cooperation is mutual respect as well as placing value on friendly neighbourly relations and appreciating each other's key areas of concern and core interests. Moreover, strengthening our "win-win" cooperation and actually benefiting the citizens of our three countries are critical forces that drive the deepening of our trilateral cooperation. In addition, it is important to make communications among the people of our three nations closer and to maintain friendship for generations. Strengthening consultation mechanisms on both regional and international affairs will also be useful in maintaining our common interests.
As we witness an era of revolutionary changes, major adjustments, and tremendous development now occurring around the globe, our three countries face new opportunities and new challenges. We will be able to accelerate the development of our individual countries further, promote the process of East Asia's regional integration and consolidation, and make commensurate contributions to world peace and development only upon deepening our cooperation across all areas. For that reason, we have agreed to fulfil our political pledges and enhance strategic mutual trust. We will comprehensively raise our level of trilateral cooperation in such fields as trade, investment, finance, transportation, information, environmental protection, the green economy, public health, and culture. We will support ASEAN integration and also advance regional and sub-regional cooperation through various approaches. In addition, we are committed to resolving issues through mechanisms for dialogue and consultation and we will further peace, stability and balance in Northeast Asia. Our countries will work hand in hand to respond to the international financial crisis, climate change and other global challenges and to promote the sustainable development of the world.
At this summit, we announced the Joint Statement commemorating the Tenth Anniversary of Trilateral Cooperation among Japan, China and the ROK and the Joint Statement on Sustainable Development, and reached agreement on a ten-point initiative.
Japan, China and the ROK are close neighbours and are each a major Asian power. A strengthening of our cooperation not only is entirely consistent with our own individual interests but also benefits both Asia and the world.
Through this summit, the future direction for Japan-China-ROK cooperation has become clearer, the content of that cooperation has been further enriched, and our determination is now firmer than ever before. I am convinced that the future of our trilateral cooperation will become even more attractive through the joint efforts of our three countries' leaders, governments, and citizens.
PRESIDENT LEE MYUNG-BAK: First of all I should like to thank Premier Wen Jiabao for leading this summit to a successful conclusion. Japan, China, and the ROK have built up a good cooperative relationship over the past ten years. I should like to usher in a new era [of cooperation] over the next ten years.
The issues of economic development and security cannot be addressed sufficiently by our countries' individual efforts alone. Only when all countries cooperate can they be overcome. Both developed and developing countries are working in cooperation to address the current global economic crisis, and we as three Asian countries have agreed to tackle together various other issues as well. Japan, China and the ROK have large populations and high GDPs, and the status of our framework of cooperation is higher than that of other regional frameworks such as NAFTA. Accordingly, there is a high importance in our cooperation, which contributes significantly to world peace. At this summit, we agreed on the Joint Statement commemorating the Tenth Anniversary of Trilateral Cooperation among Japan, China and the ROK and the Joint Statement on Sustainable Development. It is important that from now our three countries implement the various points agreed, including on global issues, and advance practical cooperation.
We also exchanged views on the North Korean issue. Premier Wen Jiabao provided a detailed explanation of his visit to North Korea and all three countries highly commended the outcome of that visit. I stated that a yet higher level of coordination and cooperation is necessary to address the North Korean issue and in view of this I explained my idea on settling all issues together, including North Korea's abandonment of its nuclear programme-that is to say, a "grand bargain".
In addition, with regard to finance and the world economy, I stated the importance of trilateral cooperation in order to ensure the success of the G20 meeting to be convened in the ROK in November . Cooperation in the region is essential in order for our three countries to overcome the global economic crisis and achieve sustainable development.
PRIME MINISTER YUKIO HATOYAMA: Good evening to the people of China. I am Yukio Hatoyama, participating in my first Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting [and I participated] along with President Lee Myung-bak of the ROK. First of all, I should like to extend my sincere thanks to Premier Wen Jiabao for convening this superb summit with such admirable care and leading it to a successful outcome, as well as for steering our discussions. As Premier Wen and President Lee have already mentioned, we ultimately succeeded in announcing a Joint Statement [on the tenth anniversary commemorating our trilateral cooperation]. I consider it truly splendid that we also issued a Joint Statement on sustainable growth. Japan, China and the ROK account for 70 per cent of Asia's GDP. In light of this, I consider the advancement of cooperation among our three countries in an even more active manner to be indispensable for fostering the economies of East Asia and by extension the world as well as for cultivating peace. I participated in this summit as a newcomer, and I truly appreciate that I could attend and take part in such a good exchange of views. There are four points that I should like to explain briefly.
The economic situations of our three countries all differ. As a result, we concurred that this makes economic cooperation all the more necessary, rather than each of us taking independent actions. Japan's employment situation is in a serious state, and I believe that the ROK is also in a similar situation. We concurred that under such circumstances exit strategies remained premature. Premier Wen also expressed his concerns that early exit strategies could conversely lead the world to setbacks. I am in full agreement with his remarks. I stated that in recognition of this, Japan intends to make efforts to enable our countries to forge an economic recovery at as early a time as possible. Such recovery will occur through our three countries expanding domestic demand, taking advantage of our individual strengths and deepening our cooperative relations in various areas, including in the fields of science and technology. I also look forward a Japan-China-ROK free trade agreement (FTA) making progress. Towards that end I proposed that we conclude a trilateral investment agreement early next year. I believe that we can fashion trilateral cooperation in a manner that rejects protectionism.
My second point is on climate change. President Hu Jintao, President Lee Myung-bak and I each delivered a speech at the United Nations, and I believe we affirmed that we each commend the speeches by the others. Japan, intending to lead the world, has put forth a bold proposal. I believe that we were able to achieve an understanding that we must not allow the Copenhagen conference, that is, COP15, to end in failure, and to avert such failure we should continue to make our utmost efforts, and each work to protect our planet, sharing common objectives while respecting the differences among us.
I also stated that what will be indispensable for trilateral cooperation is exchanges among the youth of the three countries, in particular those among university students. As one aspect of university student exchanges, we should for example actively consider permitting the interchangeability among universities of credits earned. This would naturally require a degree of consistency in the levels of the schools concerned. While I do not consider this something that is possible for all universities, we will be promoting cooperation as qualitative levels are standardised. I proposed that through such cooperation, it would be possible for the various political and psychological hurdles still remaining among our three countries to be transformed and overcome. I also mentioned holding a meeting of eminent persons as one part of this proposal.
Finally, with regard to North Korea, Premier Wen Jiabao provided a detailed explanation of his talks with General Secretary Kim Jong-Il, and for that I would like to extend my thanks to Premier Wen once more. In addition to the issues of nuclear development and ballistic missile development, Japan has in common with the ROK the issue of abductions. Japan's stance is to reach a comprehensive resolution of these issues, a position we consider to be consistent with that behind the "grand bargain" advocated by President Lee Myung-bak. While our countries' individual approaches vary, I have high expectations that the talks held by China and North Korea, and the talks between the United States and North Korea in the near future will lead to a resumption of the Six-Party Talks, and then it will be possible to work out a course by which North Korea abandons its nuclear programme through a series of concrete actions. To make this achievable, we affirmed the necessity that our three countries, and moreover of the four countries including the United States, cooperating closely to resolve the North Korean issue.
Incidentally, it is important that the three leaders recognised the need for trilateral cooperation on a number of issues. President Lee proposed that we establish a secretariat to deal with working-level matters in order to advance such cooperation. Japan supports this proposal. I would welcome strong support for this idea as a means for further enhancing our summits. I should like to close by extending my thanks once more to Premier Wen Jiabao for leading our enthusiastic discussions and by expressing my hope that the trilateral summit will develop still further.
QUESTION: Premier Wen, you mentioned that you explained the results of your visit to North Korea to President Lee and Prime Minister Hatoyama. I would like you to share with us the outcome [of the visit] regarding North Korea's denuclearisation and the points that were agreed trilaterally [today].
PREMIER WEN JIABAO: I met General Secretary Kim Jong-Il on a number of occasions during the visit, and the total amount of time I spent with him reached ten hours. The longest meeting lasted for nearly four hours. I have already explained to you in the media about China-North Korea relations, but there may have been times when I did not explain sufficiently. So taking this opportunity, I should like to describe my visit to North Korea in detail and offer my personal views. I believe that having you in the media understand the details will also have an important effect on the forthcoming process of resuming the Six-Party Talks.
North Korea indicated flexibility regarding the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and expressed a willingness to resolve issues multilaterally. In addition, it hopes to improve its relations with the United States, Japan and the ROK. This was the most memorable point for me during this visit.
Resumption of the Six-Party Talks will require cooperation from each of the countries concerned that is even more pragmatic than in the past. There is now an opportunity right in front of our eyes that could vanish in an instant. If we seize this opening and manage to take full advantage of it, I believe we will achieve progress on this [North Korean] issue. If we miss this opportunity, we will need to invest a greater amount of time and energy later. Each country concerned needs to perceive and grasp this issue from a higher viewpoint. Bilateral talks are important also within the mechanism of the Six-Party Talks, and the two kinds of dialogue are not mutually incompatible. Enhancing mutual trust through bilateral talks is important also in inducing a resumption of the Six-Party Talks. I support constructive consultations between the US and North Korea, and I also look forward to Japan and the ROK increasing their opportunities for contact with North Korea and working to improve their relations.
China has thus far made efforts for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and a resumption of the Six-Party Talks. This process conforms with United Nations Security Council resolutions and is being pursued due to China's responsibilities as a permanent member of the Council. China also provides assistance to North Korea for the latter's economic development and the stabilisation of its people's livelihoods. This too is consistent with the UN's thinking. The objectives of future cooperation from China will be the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. We will continue to make efforts with various countries to enhance the stability of Northeast Asia.
As for your second question, at our summit Japan, China and the ROK held serious discussions on the situation in Northeast Asia, denuclearisation [of the Korean Peninsula] and the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. They shared recognition on important points. The peace and stability of Northeast Asia and the realisation of denuclearisation are important issues of critical interest to Japan, China and the ROK which are members of the Six-Party Talks. At this summit, the three countries shared the common recognition that a peaceful resolution [of outstanding issues] through dialogue and consultation was important, and they agreed to work for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and to contribute to regional peace. In the afternoon I will hold bilateral meetings with Japan and the ROK and I would like to consult [with my counterparts] further at that time.
QUESTION: President Lee, you mentioned that agreement was reached among the three countries to establish a permanent secretariat at the working level. Please explain the details. Also, what sort of discussions were held among the three countries regarding the "grand bargain" you have proposed?
PRESIDENT LEE MYUNG-BAK: I explained that the permanent secretariat I proposed would be a place for consultations on cooperation on sanitation and disease control, the regional situation and international affairs, among other areas. My idea is that we set up and operate a cyber-secretariat before we establish a formal secretariat. After making an assessment consideration on establishing a permanent secretariat would proceed. Trilateral cooperation is important, and the basis for this proposal is the belief that we need to translate this cooperation into action.
As for North Korea, the goal is not North Korea's return to the Six-Party Talks per se but rather to make it abandon its nuclear programme through its participation in them. Nuclear issues are a matter of concern for the entire world, and it is necessary to halt North Korea's nuclear development if we are to create a world without nuclear weapons. For that reason, the resumption of the Six-Party Talks is important, along with [fostering] North-South relations.
Regarding the "grand bargain", I have also explained in detail to President Obama of the United States and President Medvedev of Russia. Yesterday I also explained this initiative to Prime Minister Hatoyama and consulted with him. This means that the thinking of three of the participating countries in the Six-Party Talks should be translated into action. Premier Wen stated that North Korea wishes to improve its relations also with the ROK, and I welcome that fact. The purpose of a meeting between the ROK and North Korea would be a renunciation of the North's nuclear programme, and I urge North Korea to cooperate. Today I felt that a good conclusion would have been reached if General Secretary Kim Jong-Il were here with us. North Korea's denuclearisation is a matter of global concern, and I expect China to continue its efforts as the Chair of the Six-Party Talks.
QUESTION: Prime Minister Hatoyama, I understand that there are many issues for the three countries of Japan, China and the ROK to address. Please explain how these three countries will cooperate to address global issues such as climate change, the economic crisis, and the fight against terrorism and also regional issues such as the North Korean issue and China's environmental problems.
PRIME MINISTER YUKIO HATOYAMA: That is a really broad-ranging topic. In short, the relations of trust among the leaders of our three countries should be advanced further and we would always work in coordination to resolve political problems first of all. Accordingly, summits such as this are meaningful. It will also be very important to resolve global and regional issues by establishing a permanent mechanism as President Lee proposed. You also mentioned the global environment. I believe that considerable momentum has been created, including through my speech at the United Nations. Many countries have come to think that Copenhagen [COP15] must not end in failure. Until now, there has been a kind of resignation that a successful conclusion of the conference would be quite difficult to achieve. But this has given way to a will to shepherd that resignation to success and to exercise ingenuity to make success possible. In that sense, today I reiterated Japan's stance on climate change and the two other countries made very positive statements on this issue. The most important thing will be to combine our desire to bring Copenhagen to a success. Each country has targets at various levels and I don't think that these will necessarily coincide with each other. Still, as a political message, I feel that it is entirely possible to lead the Copenhagen conference to success.
With regard to the economic crisis as well, our countries' economic situations differ as I mentioned in my opening statement. But I believe it is exactly because our situations vary that our cooperation is so worthwhile. I believe that the conclusion of a trilateral investment agreement at as early a time next year as possible, within the process of progressing towards a Japan-China-ROK FTA and elevating the relevant discussions from the private-sector level to the political level, will help to raise the economic cooperation among our three countries and thereby overcome the economic crisis.
As for the North Korean issue, you have already heard detailed explanations from Premier Wen and President Lee, and I also mentioned it in my opening statement. I should like to point out from Japan's viewpoint that in addition to the need to make North Korea abandon its nuclear programme, there are also the ballistic missile and abduction issues. President Lee has proposed resolving these issues comprehensively in a "grand bargain". I believe that bilateral negotiations and meetings holding this goal in common will be meaningful in urging North Korea to take concrete actions. Therefore, I highly commend Premier Wen Jiabao's efforts [during his visit to North Korea]. Premier Wen reported to us that General Secretary Kim Jong-Il also wants to improve Japan-North Korea relations. We would like to place faith in these words. For that reason as well, I would like bilateral talks to segue into the Six-Party Talks at as early a time as possible. In my talks with President Obama, I stated that US-North Korea bilateral meetings are fine, but that I would like the US to build this up to the Six-Party Talks as soon as possible. Premier Wen mentioned that bilateral consultations are not incompatible with consultations among all six parties, and I agree with that entirely. Indeed I value them as major steps leading up to the Six-Party Talks, and I hope that by connecting them to Six-Party Talks North Korea will start to take concrete actions as part of a package.
Finally, with regard to China's environmental problems, I believe that cooperation from the private sector is also absolutely essential, for example in addressing the issue of water treatment. What is important is forging win-win relationships. There are various Japanese corporations making efforts to resolve such issues. It is important to make the resolution of various problems in China utilising the know-how of these companies also contribute to economic growth [in Japan]. A business summit is currently being convened, and it is important to utilise both the business and political summits to address this issue.
In my view, summits contribute to the resolution of global and regional issues when they function with the ability to get things done in a pragmatic manner.