S. Korea, Japan, China vow to resist protectionism

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S. Korea, Japan, China vow to resist protectionism

The pledge came after a meeting of senior financial officials and central bankers of the three countries on the sidelines of an annual gathering of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Yokohama, eastern Japan, Yonhap news agency reported.

The Northeast Asian powers agreed that “trade is one of the most important engines of economic growth and development”, the joint statement said.

They “will resist all forms of protectionism”, the statement said.

The language is seen as being stronger than a statement issued by the financial chiefs of the Group of 20 economies in March, in which they dropped the line against protectionism apparently in the face of opposition from the United States.

The three nations said the pace of a recovery in the global economy is quickening on the back of manufacturing growth accompanied by a recovery in financial markets.

However, they will step up cooperation in the face of lingering uncertainties in the global economy and geopolitical risks, according to the statement.

The meeting was attended by the Finance Ministers and central bank governors of South Korea and Japan and China’s deputy Finance Minister and senior central bank official.

Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie skipped the meeting. The reason for his absence was unclear, but China has been at odds with South Korea over the deployment of an advanced US missile defence system and with Japan over history and security issues.

The South Korean delegation was represented by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho.

Yoo told South Korean reporters that he has no plan to hold a bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the ADB gathering.

Yoo also held talks with his Singaporean counterpart Heng Swee Keat and said that the two nations must take a leading role in promoting free trade worldwide and pre-emptively cope with uncertainties in the global financial market.

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