BEIJING – The health ministers of Japan, China and South Korea said they will collaborate on measures to prevent the arrival of Ebola and other deadly diseases.
They met Sunday in Beijing at a time of tentative signs of an improvement in Japan’s relations with China and South Korea, which have been severely strained over territorial and wartime issues.
The health ministers agreed to boost information-sharing on the Ebola epidemic and countermeasures against other types of diseases, such as pandemic influenza.
Since March, when the first case in the world’s worst ever Ebola outbreak was reported, about 5,400 people have died from the virus, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization. Ebola has not been identified in Asia.
The trilateral meeting comprised Yasuhisa Shiozaki from Japan, Li Bin from China and Moon Hyong-pyo.
It was organized after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on the sidelines of a regional economic summit. He also held discussions with South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
Because of the poor Tokyo-Beijing and Tokyo-Seoul relations, the nations’ leaders have not held a trilateral annual gathering since 2012. But following the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Abe and Park expressed their willingness to resume the suspended three-way dialogue in the near future.
The three countries have been holding meetings of health ministers almost every year since 2007.
Japan is due to host next year’s meeting.