MANILA – Finance chiefs from Japan, China and South Korea on Friday hailed the outcome of a historic summit between the two Koreas and expressed hope for future progress in reducing geopolitical tensions in the region.
“We welcome the Panmunjeom Declaration agreed between the leaders of South and North Korea on April 27, 2018, and look forward to further progress in easing geopolitical tension in the region,” the finance chiefs said in a joint statement.
In the summit, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to pursue the “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to strive to declare a formal end to the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in a cease-fire rather than a peace treaty.
But the finance ministers and central bank governors of the three countries also warned of risks from rising protectionism and noted the importance of free trade as they met on the sidelines of an annual Asian Development Bank meeting in Manila.
“We stressed the importance of resisting all forms of protectionism, ensuring an open and rule-based multilateral trade and investment system, and of strengthening resilience against external shocks,” the statement said.
Although global economic growth remains solid, the finance leaders said they “remain vigilant against downside risks that may threaten the recovery,” citing the rise of protectionism and faster-than-expected monetary tightening.
Earlier this year, financial markets were rattled by fears of a trade war between the United States and China following U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
As the annual gathering with delegates from 67 member countries and regions kicked off Thursday, ADB President Takehiko Nakao also expressed concern about the potential impact of trade tensions between the United States and China on Asian economies.