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China, Japan, S Korea sign statement on partnership relations
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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L), Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso (C) and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (R) attend a tripartite meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, Dec. 13, 2008.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L), Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso (C) and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (R) attend a tripartite meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, Dec. 13, 2008. [Xinhua]

The action plan is to be drawn up every two to three years by the three countries in rotation, the statement said.

In particular, they agreed to enhance cooperation on disaster management.

The three countries are subject to such natural disasters as earthquakes, typhoons, floods, sediment related disasters and tsunamis, said the joint statement. Moreover, the risk is expected to rise concerning water-related disasters including typhoons, floods and sediment-related disasters in the changing environment such as climate change and rapid urbanization, it said.

The leaders of the three countries agreed on the importance of sharing information on projects, initiatives, good practices, lessons learned and science and technologies to strengthen disaster management capability.

China, Japan and South Korea will enhance cooperation in developing a comprehensive disaster management framework, working out measures to reduce vulnerability to disaster and minimize its damage, and strengthening effective disaster management at the national, local and community levels, according to the joint statement.

In order to facilitate such cooperation, the three countries agreed to hold in turn trilateral meetings at the heads of government agency and expert level on disaster management, said the statement.

At the meeting, they discussed trilateral ties, the ongoing global financial crisis and other issues of common concern.

Wen said at the start of the meeting that all major economies have been hit by the deepening global financial crisis, and economic growth and people's life have been severely affected across the world.

Regional cooperation in Asia faces new opportunities and challenges, he added.

Under these particular circumstances, it is of practical importance for the three leaders to discuss ways to strengthen trilateral cooperation, jointly address the financial crisis, boost economic growth, promote integration in East Asia, and safeguard stability of the region and the larger world, Wen said.

The three Asian countries are important trade partners among one another.

Japan is now China's third largest trading partner, while China is Japan's largest trading partner.

Trade between China and Japan topped 236 billion U.S. dollars in 2007, a 213-fold increase over some 1.1 billion dollars in 1972 when the two countries established diplomatic ties.

China's trade with South Korea has also expanded fast. China has become South Korea's biggest trading partner, and two-way trade reached 159 billion dollars last year.

This is the first time the trilateral meeting was held alone. Previously, eight tripartite meetings took place on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus Three summits in ASEAN member countries.

Before the meeting, Wen met Lee and Aso respectively to discuss bilateral relations and issues of common concern.

The last tripartite meeting was held in Singapore on Nov. 20, 2007.

(Xinhua News Agency December 13, 2008)

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