• Reuters, Kyodo


Finance ministers and central bank governors from China, Japan and South Korea vowed Monday to employ “targeted” measures for those countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and committed to foster fiscal and financial stability.

In a joint statement issued after a virtual meeting held on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) annual gathering, the ministers pledged to achieve inclusive recovery, preserve long-term fiscal sustainability and maintain financial stability.

Responses to the COVID-19 crisis, universal health coverage, climate change, high-quality infrastructure and debt transparency and sustainability in emerging Asia are expected to top the agenda as the ADB meets.

“The regional outlook has improved, with continued policy support and growing vaccine coverage,” the financial leaders from the three countries said in a statement.

“However, we should remain vigilant as the economic recovery has been uneven across and within member economies, uncertain and subject to elevated downside risks.”

At its annual gathering, the ADB is expected to launch the Asia Pacific Tax Hub, which will be aimed at promoting knowledge sharing and strengthening cooperation on tax policy and administration, to enhance its support for developing nations in the region.

The new framework envisions an inclusive platform for policy dialogue among 68 ADB members and international institutions, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The ADB talks were initially scheduled to be held in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, but switched to virtual meetings due to the pandemic.

The three Asian economic powerhouses also said they would explore new initiatives to strengthen the ASEAN+3 regional financial safety net at a virtual meeting on Monday with the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

At their last virtual meeting in September, the financial chiefs from the ASEAN+3 group, which comprises Japan, South Korea, China and ASEAN, promised to boost the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM). The CMIM plays a crucial role in supporting regional financial stability by allowing member economies, which include the ASEAN+3 and Hong Kong, to tap currency swap lines to secure currencies in need.

On Monday, the three parties cited the rising need to respond to structural challenges and their profound implications for regional economic and financial stability.

They also underscored their commitment to backing open and rules-based multilateral trade and investment in the region.

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