This is a bit of a puff piece from today's Yomiuri on a recent development in China-Japan-Korea (CJK) relations, but I need more translation practice.
CJK leadership joint declaration demands definitive settlement to North Korean nukes
January 14, 2007
[Cebu (central Philippines)] Prime Minister Abe, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun presented a joint declaration demanding North Korea "take definitive and effective steps towards" nuclear disarmament at 1600 (Tokyo time) from their hotel in Cebu.
The declaration also contained a statement that final negotiations on the "Japan, China and Korea Investment Agreement" concerning the enlargment of investment between the three countries will begin soon.
This is the first summit between Japanese, Chinese and Korean leadership since a suspension two years ago caused by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's contraversial visits to the Yasukuni shrine.
In regard to the North Korean nuclear issue, Prime Minister stressed that "the Six Party Talks are not making substantial progress. It is important for each country to apply an appropriate amount of pressure to urge the North Koreans to make the political decision to denuclearize." President Roh explained that appropriate sanctions included a "suspension of South Korean rice and fertilizer support," while Prime Minister Wen responded that "Six Party talks was a valid process" and that "Japan, China and Korea wanted to cooperatively implement a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
In regard to the abduction issue, Prime Minister Abe stated that "it is regrettable that North Korea is not correspondingly sincere (towards resolving the issue)" and requested Chinese and Korean understanding and cooperation on the matter. Both the Chinese and Korean leaders did not immediately answer, but the joint declaration did reference the abduction issue with a statement that "emphaszied the importance of coping with concerns towards the humanity of all peoples."
The joint declaration also included (1) the establishment of mechanism to allow high-level foreign ministry consultations, (2) a pledge for greater cooperation on environmental issues, including silting and water pollution, and (3) an expression of support for United Nations reform, including reform to the UN Security Council.
The seeming benality of the meeting and joint declaration betrays how tense relations between China, Japan and Korea have been for the last few years. Between Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni shrine, some rough times over the gas fields in East China Sea and the protests sparked by Kofi Annan's suggestion that Japan should get a permanent seat on the Security Council, relations between Japan, China and Korea have been frigid. The fact that the three countries haven't had mechanisms to handle working-level diplomatic consultations should speak to how weak relations within the region have been for decades.
I guess now is as good a time as any to start a thaw, now that Shinzo Abe is in power and North Korean missile and nuclear tests have forced Japanese, Chinese and South Korean policy towards Pyongyang as close together as they have ever been.