China, Japan to launch communication mechanism to address maritime, airspace differences: FM

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During the bilateral talks held on the sideline of the three-way summit that also involved Japan, South Korean President Moon Jae In emphasized the importance of seeing a "success" in the upcoming talks between US and North Korean leaders on nuclear issues.

Abe and Moon also affirmed cooperation by their countries to resolve promptly the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals, according to officials familiar with their talks in Tokyo.

Leaders of the three Asian powers, whose ties have been strained by territorial and historical disputes, also touched on economics in the face of USA trade pressure on China and Japan. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now in Pyongyang, possibly to set an exact date for the Trump-Kim meeting, an official from Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said earlier.

Noting that the next year marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the China-Japan-South Korea cooperation mechanism, Li urged businesses of the three countries to join hands not only to bring benefits to the three countries but also to provide new driving force for world economic growth.

South Korean and Chinese leaders agreed on Wednesday in Tokyo that North Korea should receive economic support and security guarantees if complete denuclearization is implemented, the South Korean presidential office said. Moon said the three countries agreed to highlight unity as the two Koreas moved towards a permanent peace settlement.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in made the pledge here at a trilateral meeting, giving a big boost for free trade against a rising undercurrent of protectionism in the world.

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At a joint news conference held after the trilateral meeting, Li also said, "I hold expectations for direct dialogue between Japan and North Korea".

While short on specifics, the show of unity, especially ahead of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's expected talks with President Trump, was seen as a major success.

Japan has by far the hardest line of the three countries on North Korea, and has found itself largely watching from the sidelines as the diplomatic frenzy unfolds.

Abe said he is "looking forward to visiting China (again) at an appropriate time" following a request from Li.

The leaders discussed Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme and supported free trade.