China, Japan, South Korea Stress Unity amid North Korea Moves

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Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, hosted the trilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae In.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was quoted as saying that North Korea has a "clear will toward denuclearization and is doing what the country should do". He said that as major traders in the world, the three sides all support free trade and open markets.

"The momentum of the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and peace and stability in North-East Asia has to be led to North Korea's concrete actions, " Abe said after the meeting.

Abe attempted to improve Japan's relations with the two neighbouring countries that have been strained over differing views of Japanese wartime atrocities and territorial spats.

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Last month North Korean President Kim Jong-un held a historic summit with Moon at the border between the two countries that was followed by an announcement from Kim to halt nuclear weapons tests and shut down production facilities.

On Wednesday, top United States diplomat Mike Pompeo was in Pyongyang to prepare for the summit, which builds on talks between the two Koreas and a deal signed in the truce village of Panmunjom last month.

In the so-called Panmunjom Declaration, Moon and Kim affirmed their commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula while agreeing to seek a formal end to the Korean War.

Kim met President Xi Jinping in the north-eastern Chinese port city of Dalian on Monday and Tuesday, the second meeting between the two, according to China's state news agency Xinhua.

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"Xi was originally sanguine about getting along with Trump, but the recent tariff move, which came as a surprise for him, awakened him to the reality that China has to fight America after all, and that it has to fix ties with Japan and embrace it under its wing", said Noriyuki Kawamura, a professor of Sino-Japanese relations at the Nagoya University of Foreign Studies.

China, meanwhile, is seeking the simultaneous construction of a peace framework for the Korean Peninsula as North Korea eliminates its nuclear weapons.

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. 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.

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