China demands a free trade agreement with Japan and South Korea

China demands a free trade agreement with Japan and South Korea

China, South Korea, and Japan concluded their trilateral summit yesterday and expectations were met: declarations of good faith, commitments to economic cooperation, and more. The news was in the form of Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang, his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, and South Korean President Yeon Suk-yeol. The annual summit has not been held since 2009, first due to the Corona virus and later a lack of trust. It is not an irrelevant lesson in this turbulent world for the three Asian powers to sit down to talk when separated by trade, geopolitical and historical issues.

Li revealed that China wants to cooperate on economic issues, especially in supply chains, and advance negotiations on a free trade agreement that have been stalled for four years. In his speech, Yoon added the environment and Kishida stressed the shared responsibility in regional stability.

A quarter of the gross domestic product

This summit is likely to accept a solution to economic conflicts. The complaints are no different from those heard between Beijing, Washington or Brussels: Japan and South Korea protest the barriers that China imposes on their companies, while China accuses them of imitating Western protectionism. Beijing asserts that the solution is a free trade treaty between three economies that represent a quarter of global GDP and share cultural relations.

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