China, South Korea and Japan need to agree on the establishment of a free trade area as soon as possible, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has stated during a high-level economic dialogue with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.
“It is necessary to promote a comprehensive regional economic partnership and to reach an agreement in the negotiations on the establishment of a free trade area between China, South Korea and Japan as soon as possible, to lead the process of economic integration in East Asia,” Wang said, as quoted by a statement published on the foreign ministry’s website.
Kono, in turn, noted that in view of a large number of uncertainties in the international environment, Japan and China needed to deepen economic cooperation and jointly protect a multilateral trading mechanism.
The statement comes after Kono started a three-day working visit to China on 13 April at the invitation of Wang. The two foreign ministers held the fifth high-level economic dialogue, during which they discussed Chinese-Japanese bilateral relations, as well as international and regional issues of common concern.
A day earlier, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stated that the world’s second-largest economy is set to meet its annual economic growth target of 6.5 percent this year, according to reports.
He also stressed the ongoing opening of the Chinese economy to international investment, and its solid commitment to free trade will support expansion in the private sector, while the rising prominence of domestic sources of growth could make up for the losses in foreign trade.