China–Japan–South Korea trilateral summit

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China–Japan–South Korea trilateral summit
  • 中日韩领导人会议 (Chinese)
  • にっちゅうかん しゅのうかいぎ (Japanese)
  • 한중일 정상회의 (Korean)
See caption
Map of East Asia indicating China (red), Taiwan (pink), Japan (green), South Korea (blue), and North Korea (light blue)

Member states and key leaders:

 ChinaPresident Xi Jinping[a]
Premier Li Qiang
 JapanPrime Minister Fumio Kishida
 South KoreaPresident Yoon Suk-yeol

ParticipantsChina, Japan, South Korea
China–Japan–South Korea trilateral summit
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese中日韩领导人会议
Traditional Chinese中日韓領導人會議
South Korean name
Hangul한중일 정상회의
Japanese name

The China–Japan–South Korea trilateral summit is an annual summit meeting attended by the People's Republic of China, Japan and South Korea, three major countries in East Asia and the world's second, fourth and 12th largest economies. The first summit was held during December 2008 in Fukuoka, Japan.[1] The talks are focused on maintaining strong trilateral relations,[2] the regional economy[3][4] and disaster relief.[5]

The summits were first proposed by South Korea in 2004, as a meeting outside the framework of the ASEAN Plus Three, with the three major economies of East Asia having a separate community forum. In November 2007 during the ASEAN Plus Three meeting, the leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea held their eighth meeting, and decided to strengthen political dialogue and consultations between the three countries, eventually deciding on an ad hoc meeting to be held in 2008.

In September 2011, the three countries launched the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat in Seoul. The Secretary-General is appointed on a two-year rotational basis in the order of Korea, Japan, and China. Each country other than the one of the Secretary-General nominates a Deputy Secretary-General respectively.


Leader summits[edit]

Summit Host Country Participants Host City Date
 China Premier  Japan Prime Minister  South Korea President
1st  Japan Wen Jiabao Tarō Asō Lee Myung-bak Dazaifu 13 December 2008
2nd  China Wen Jiabao Yukio Hatoyama Lee Myung-bak Beijing 10 October 2009
3rd  South Korea Wen Jiabao Yukio Hatoyama Lee Myung-bak Jeju 29 May 2010
4th  Japan Wen Jiabao Naoto Kan Lee Myung-bak Fukushima & Tokyo 21–22 May 2011
5th  China Wen Jiabao Yoshihiko Noda Lee Myung-bak Beijing 13–14 May 2012
6th  South Korea Li Keqiang Shinzō Abe Park Geun-hye Seoul 1 November 2015
7th  Japan Li Keqiang Shinzō Abe Moon Jae-in Tokyo 9 May 2018
8th  China Li Keqiang Shinzō Abe Moon Jae-in Chengdu 23–25 December 2019
9th  South Korea Li Qiang Fumio Kishida Yoon Suk-yeol Seoul TBD

Foreign Ministers' Meetings[edit]

Summit Host Country Participants Host City Date
 China  Japan  South Korea
1st  South Korea Yang Jiechi Tarō Asō Song Min-soon Jeju 3 June 2007
2nd  Japan Yang Jiechi Masahiko Kōmura Yu Myung-hwan Tokyo 14 June 2008
3rd  China Yang Jiechi Katsuya Okada Yu Myung-hwan Shanghai 28 September 2009
4th  South Korea Yang Jiechi Katsuya Okada Yu Myung-hwan Gyeongju 15 May 2010
5th  Japan Yang Jiechi Takeaki Matsumoto Kim Sung-hwan Kyoto 19 March 2011
6th  China Yang Jiechi Kōichirō Genba Kim Sung-hwan Ningbo 8 April 2012
7th  South Korea Wang Yi Fumio Kishida Yun Byung-se Seoul 21 March 2015
8th  Japan Wang Yi Fumio Kishida Yun Byung-se Kurashiki 24 August 2016
9th  China Wang Yi Tarō Kōno Kang Kyung-wha Beijing 21 August 2019
 South Korea Wang Yi Toshimitsu Motegi Kang Kyung-wha (virtual) 20 March 2020
10th  South Korea Wang Yi Yōko Kamikawa Park Jin Busan 26 November 2023

1st trilateral summit (2008)[edit]

The first separate meeting of the leaders of the three countries was held in Fukuoka, Japan. During the meeting, the "Joint Statement between the three partners" was signed and issued, which identified the direction and principles behind cooperation between China, Japan and South Korea. The conference adopted the "International Financial and Economic Issues Joint Statement", "Disaster Management of the Three Countries Joint Statement" and "Action plan to promote cooperation between China, Japan and South Korea".

Trilateral relations[edit]

One of the topics discussed focused on the improvement of future relations between the three countries, from strategic and long-term perspectives. Prior talks between the three countries have been hindered specifically by various territorial and historical disputes.[6] Chinese premier Wen Jiabao stated that "China is willing to make joint efforts with Japan to continue to develop the strategic and mutually beneficial ties in a healthy and stable manner, to benefit the peoples of the two countries and other nations in the region as well."[2] Japanese prime minister Tarō Asō also expressed that he believed the best manner in dealing with the economic crisis of 2008 was economic partnership.[7] There is also speculation of a future regional Free trade area. Such co-operation would greatly benefit the three nations, which account for two thirds of total trade,[8] 40% of total population and three quarters[citation needed] of the GDP of Asia (20% of global GDP[9]), during the ongoing economic crisis.[10]

2nd trilateral summit (2009)[edit]

The second summit was held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Despite the worries of limitations that the summit has faced in 2008, this all changed in 2009, when Japan, China and Korea were forced to coordinate and cooperate more closely to manage the regional effects of the global financial crisis.

In their joint statement on the crisis, the trio identified the need to cooperate on global issues (such as financial risk) and in global institutions, including at the G20. While a reaction to global events, this cooperation began to significantly affect the management of East Asia. Over the course of 2009, the three nations resolved their long running dispute over contributions (and thus voting weight) in the Chiang Mai Initiatives, the first major 'success' of the ASEAN Plus Three process. The three nations also worked together to push through a general capital increase at the Asian Development Bank to help it fight the effects of the global financial crisis, a decision mandated by the G20 but about which the US appeared ambivalent.[11]

3rd trilateral summit (2010)[edit]

The third summit among these three countries was held in Jeju, Korea. The prime minister of Korea, Lee Myung bak hosted the meeting and China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao, Japan's prime minister Yukio Hatoyama attended the meeting. One document called the 2020 Cooperation Prospect was released, which firstly emphasized that the three countries will face up to history and cooperate for the future development. Also, looking forward to the specific goals that should be achieved in the next ten years, this document stressed the importance to concentrate on the cooperation in different fields.

In the progress of institutionalizations and improvements of the partnership, the leaders decided to enhance the communication and strategic mutual trust. The leaders agreed to establish a secretariat in Korea in 2011 to confront the natural disaster, discuss the possibility to build up the 'defense dialogue mechanism', improve the policing cooperation and boost the communication among the government. In terms of sustainable development and common prosperity, the leaders said they would try to complete the survey of the Trilateral Free Trade Area before 2012; improve the trade volume; enhance trade facilitation and they restated that they would attach great importance to the customs cooperation; make efforts to the negotiation about investment agreement and offer necessary infrastructure for the improvement of the free flow of investment capital; enhance the coordination of the financial departments; improve the effectiveness of the multilateral Chiang mai initiate; reject all forms of trade protectionism; improve the cooperation in science and innovation; and strengthen the cooperation and consultation policies in the fields of industry, energy, the energy efficiency and resource.

4th trilateral summit (2011)[edit]

Because the previous three summit meetings covered a wide range of world issues, they did not produce any concrete outcome. There was no agreement on North Korea's nuclear development or on the March and September 2010 incidents involving North Korea. Moreover, although the leaders of the three countries had agreed to set up a permanent secretariat headquartered in Seoul to facilitate trilateral cooperation, it has still not been implemented. The three leaders had also agreed to strengthen mutual understanding and trust, expand cooperation in trade, investment, finance, and environmental protection. Not much progress has been achieved in these areas as well over the past one year.

The fourth meeting was held in the wake of the nuclear accident at Fukushima and the natural disaster in Japan. Prime Minister Kan Naoto proposed to hold the summit in Fukushima to convey the message to the world that Fukushima has already become a safe place. The Japanese government hoped that if the heads of the three countries gather in the crisis-stricken city, radiation fears will be mitigated. However, due to logistic problems, the meeting could not be held in Fukushima and instead was held in Tokyo.

While Japan was accused of not providing its neighbours with accurate information when radioactive materials leaked at Fukushima, the summit led to agreement to establish an emergency notification system, enhance cooperation among experts, and share information in the event of emergencies.[12]

5th trilateral summit (2012)[edit]

14 May 2012, Leaders from China, Japan, and South Korea concluded the Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting and signed the Trilateral Agreement for the Promotion, Facilitation and Protection of Investment (hereinafter referred as the Trilateral Agreement) at a summit in Beijing. The Trilateral Agreement represents a stepping stone towards a three-way free trade pact to counter global economic turbulence and to boost economic growth in Asia.

According to a joint declaration, the three nations will further enhance the “future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership” to unleash vitality into the economic growth of the three countries, accelerate economic integration in East Asia, and facilitate economic recovery and growth in the world.

In the joint declaration, the three nations list directions and prioritization of future cooperation, which includes enhancing mutual political trust, deepening economic and trade cooperation, promoting sustainable development, expanding social, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and strengthening communication and coordination in regional and international affairs.

Among all these proposals, the signing of the Trilateral Agreement and the decision to endorse the recommendation from the trade ministers to launch the trilateral FTA negotiations within this year are at the top of the priority list in deepening economic and trade cooperation.[13]

6th trilateral summit (2015)[edit]

The 6th trilateral summit was held on 1 November 2015 in Seoul, resuming the summit since 2012 due to varieties of disputes and issues ranging from World War II apologies to territorial disputes among the three nations. During the summit, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, and South Korean President Park Geun-hye agreed to meet annually in order to work towards deepening trade relations with the proposed trilateral free trade agreement.[14] They also agreed to pursue the six-party talks over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.[15]

7th trilateral summit (2018)[edit]

The 7th trilateral summit was held on 9 May 2018 in Tokyo, resuming the summit since 2015.[16]

TCS Secretary-Generals[edit]

The Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) is an international organization established with a vision to promote peace and common prosperity among China, Japan, and South Korea.

List of TCS Secretary-Generals:

  • Shin Bong-kil South Korea (1 September 2011 - 31 August 2013)
    • Rui Matsukawa Japan & Mao Ning China (Deputies)
  • Shigeo Iwatani Japan (1 September 2013 - 31 August 2015)
  • Yang Houlan China (1 September 2015 – 31 August 2017)
    • Lee Jong-heon South Korea & Akima Umezawa Japan (Deputies)
  • Lee Jong-heon South Korea(1 September 2017 – 31 August 2019)
    • Yamamoto Yasushi Japan & Han Mei China (Deputies)
  • Hisashi Michigami Japan(1 September 2019 – 31 August 2021)
    • Jing Cao China & Kang Do-ho South Korea (Deputies)
  • Ou Boqian China(1 September 2021 – present)
    • Bek Bum-hym South Korea & Sakata Natsuko Japan (Deputies)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The de jure head of government of China is the Premier, whose current holder is Li Qiang. The President of China is legally a ceremonial office, but the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (de facto leader) has always held this office since 1993 except for the months of transition, and the current paramount leader is Xi Jinping.


  1. ^ Chinese, Japanese PMs meet for boosting bilateral ties
  2. ^ a b Chinese, Japanese PMs meet, pledge to boost bilateral ties
  3. ^ China expects positive result at upcoming meeting with ROK, Japan Archived 11 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ CCTV-9 English News, broadcast 13 December 2008
  5. ^ China, Japan, S Korea to promote co-op on disaster management Archived 11 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Japan, South Korea, China: trilateral ties, tensions - Yahoo! Malaysia
  7. ^ China, Japan, S Korea agree to enhance systematic co-op Archived 12 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Regional summit to tackle crisis - Chinadaily
  9. ^ ASEAN-China Relations Archived 4 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ SBS World News Australia, 14 December 2008
  11. ^ Joel Rathus (15 June 2010). "China-Japan-Korea trilateral cooperation and the East Asian Community". EAST ASIA FORUM. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  12. ^ Rajaram Panda and Pranamita Baruah. "Japan-China-South Korea Trilateral Summit Meet Holds Promise". Institute for defence studies and analysis. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  13. ^ Xiaolei Gu (14 May 2012). "China-Japan-South Korea Sign Trilateral Agreement and Launch FTA Talks". CHINA BRIEFING. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  14. ^ Choe Sang-hun (1 November 2015). "China, Japan and South Korea Pledge to Expand Trade at Joint Meeting". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  15. ^ Song Jung-a (1 November 2015). "S Korea, Japan and China agree to push for N Korea nuclear talks". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  16. ^ Tomohiro Osaki. Japan, China and South Korea are 'in sync' on North Korea, Japanese official says. Japan Times, 9 May 2018

External links[edit]