• Kyodo

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The trade chiefs of Japan, China and South Korea agreed in a trilateral meeting Saturday to promote negotiations on free trade and cooperation in the energy sector.

They also vowed to urge more trade and investment around the globe and cooperate on hosting the Olympics.

The three countries also reaffirmed in a joint statement that there was a need to counter protectionist moves, and pledged to play a leading role in achieving high-level and comprehensive rules for a three-way trade pact they are pursuing and for the broader Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership project.

The RCEP is an ambitious trade agreement being discussed by the three countries and by the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as Australia, India and New Zealand.

“All three countries will inform their leaders of the outcome of the meeting so it will be reflected in the conclusion of a trilateral summit (later this year),” Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said after the meeting.

Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said they were able to reach an outcome that could help their leaders form their common views on promoting economic and trade activities.

South Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Joo Hyung Hwan said the trio shared concern about rising protectionism and pledged to come together to address it.

In the energy sector, the countries will strengthen cooperation in importing liquefied natural gas to ensure procurement remains stable.

They also agreed to cooperate in culture and sports ahead of the Olympics they host.

South Korea will host the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and China will host the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, with the 2020 Summer Olympics headed for Tokyo.

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