China–Japan–South Korea trilateral summit

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
Hangul 한중일 정상회의
Hanja 韓中日頂上會議
Japanese name
Kanji 日中韓首脳会議
Kana にっちゅうかんしゅのうかいだん

The China–Japan–South Korea trilateral summit is an annual summit held between China, Japan and South Korea, three major countries in East Asia. 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 of 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 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

Summit Host Country Host Leader Host City Date
1st  Japan Prime Minister Tarō Asō Fukuoka 13 December 2008
2nd  China Premier Wen Jiabao Beijing 10 October 2009
3rd  South Korea President Lee Myung-bak Jeju 29 May 2010
4th  Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan Fukushima & Tokyo 21–22 May 2011
5th  China Premier Wen Jiabao Beijing 13–14 May 2012
6th  South Korea President Park Geun-hye Seoul 1 November 2015
7th  Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe (expected) Hachinohe early December 2016

Foreign Minister summits

Summit Host Country Host Minister Host City Date
1st  South Korea Song Min-soon Jeju 3 June 2007
2nd  Japan Masahiko Kōmura Tokyo 14 June 2008
3rd  China Yang Jiechi Shanghai 28 September 2009
4th  South Korea Yu Myung-hwan Gyeongju 15 May 2010
5th  Japan Takeaki Matsumoto Kyoto 19 March 2011
6th  China Yang Jiechi Ningbo 8 April 2012
7th  South Korea Yun Byung-se Seoul 21 March 2015
8th  Japan Fumio Kishida Kurashiki 30 April 2016
9th  China Wang Yi (expected) TBD TBD

Leader summits at EAS

Summit Host Country Host City Date
1st  Philippines Manila 29 November 1999
2nd  Singapore Singapore 24 November 2000
3rd  Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan 5 November 2001
4th  Cambodia Phnom Penh 4 November 2002
5th  Indonesia Bali 7 October 2003
6th  Laos Vientiane 29 November 2004
7th  Philippines Cebu 14 January 2007
8th  Singapore Singapore 20 November 2007
9th  Thailand Pattaya 11 April 2009
10th  Vietnam Hanoi 29 October 2010
11th  Indonesia Bali 19 November 2011

1st trilateral summit (2008)

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

One of the topics discussed focused in 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 [9] of the GDP of Asia (20% of global GDP [10]), during the ongoing economic crisis.[11]

2nd trilateral summit (2009)

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.[12]

3rd trilateral summit (2010)

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)

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.[13]

5th trilateral summit (2012)

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.[14]

6th trilateral summit (2015)

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.[15] They also agreed to pursue the six-party talks over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.[16]

TCS Secretary-General

  1. Shin Bong-gil South Korea (1 September 2011 - 1 September 2013)
  2. Shigeo Iwatani Japan (1 September 2013 - 1 September 2015)
    • Chen Feng China & Lee Jong-heon South Korea (Deputies)
  3. Yang Houlan China (1 September 2015 - present)
    • Lee Jong-heon South Korea & Akima Umezawa Japan (Deputies)

Countries data

Pudong financial center of Shanghai.
Shinjuku financial center of Tokyo.
Jongno financial center of Seoul.


Country Area km² Population
(2015 estimate)
Population density
per km²
Largest city 2nd largest city 3rd largest city
 China 9,596,961 1,371,760,000 140.6 0.719 (high) Shanghai Beijing (capital) Guangzhou
 Japan 377,915 126,865,000 336.7 0.890 (very high) Tokyo (capital) Yokohama Osaka
 South Korea 100,210 51,448,183 490.9 0.891 (very high) Seoul (capital) Busan Incheon


Country Active Military Military Budget
millions of USD
Military Budget PPP
millions of USD
Military Ranking
 China 2,285,000 188,000 249,000 3rd
 Japan 247,764 48,600 46,000 9th
 South Korea 655,000 33,900 44,200 7th


Country Currency GDP nominal
millions of USD
millions of USD
GDP nominal per capita
GDP PPP per capita
millions of USD
millions of USD
International trade
millions of USD
 China Chinese yuan
(CNY; ; )
10,355,350 17,632,014 7,572 12,893 2,210,000 1,950,000 4,160,000
 Japan Japanese yen
(JPY; ; )
4,769,804 4,788,033 37,540 37,683 697,000 766,600 1,463,600
 South Korea South Korean won
(KRW; ; )
1,679,494 1,789,758 28,739 35,485 557,300 514,200 1,073,900

Credit ratings

Country Fitch
 China A+ Aa3 AA-
 Japan A A1 A+
 South Korea AA- Aa2 AA-

Organization and groups

 China Green tick Red X Green tick Red X Red X Red X Red X Green tick Red X Red X Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick
 Japan Green tick Green tick Red X Green tick Red X Green tick Green tick Red X Red X Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick
 South Korea Green tick Red X Red X Red X Green tick Green tick Green tick Red X Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick

Airport Traffic

Top busiest airports by passenger traffic (2015)
Country Airport Total passengers
 China Beijing Capital International Airport 21,663,240
 Japan Tokyo (Haneda) International Airport 18,053,930
 South Korea Incheon International Airport 12,539,595
Top busiest airports by international passenger traffic (2014)
Country Airport Total passengers
China Hong Kong, China Hong Kong International Airport* 62,929,420
 South Korea Incheon International Airport 44,906,813
 Japan Narita International Airport 29,625,075
Top busiest airports by cargo traffic (2014)
Country Airport Total passengers
China Hong Kong, China Hong Kong International Airport* 4,411,193
 South Korea Incheon International Airport 2,557,680
 Japan Narita International Airport 2,132,377
Top busiest city airport systems by passenger traffic (2014)
Country Airport Total passengers
 Japan Tokyo: Narita & Haneda 108,421,827
 China Beijing: Capital & Nanyuan 91,059,631
 South Korea Seoul: Incheon & Gimpo 67,079,045

See also


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