China, South Korea, and Japan Agree to Security Cooperation as North Korea Prepares ‘Christmas Gift’

CHENGDU, CHINA - DECEMBER 24: China's Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) at a joint press conference at the 8th trilateral leaders' meeting between China, South Korea and Japan in Chengdu, in southwest China's Sichuan province on December 24, 2019. (Photo by Wang …
Wang Zhao-Pool/Getty Images

China, South Korea, and Japan agreed to closer security cooperation this week as North Korea’s end of year deadline for the advancement of peace negotiations looms with less than a week to go.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday for a summit in Southern China to discuss the lack of progress being made with Pyongyang, as well as to finalize the details on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

However, the talks were largely dominated by concerns over North Korea. Abe, whose stances are most closely aligned with that of the United States, criticized North Korea for recent missile tests violating United Nations resolutions and damaging regional security.

“For that purpose, it was confirmed that full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions remains important, and we need to maintain the momentum of the US-North Korea process,” Abe said.

President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un have met three times since June 2018, although no measure progress has been made. North Korea has demanded sanctions relief by the end of the year and has made unspecified threats, dubbed a “Christmas gift,” if no action is taken.

Both China and Russia have urged the United Nations to pass a resolution calling for the removal of some U.S. and Japanese sanctions although both countries have rejected such demands until the regime takes concrete steps to start dismantling their nuclear program.

Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon Jae-in confirmed at a press conference following the meeting that the three countries would work in close cooperation. “South Korea, China, Japan, the three countries, agreed to continue close communication and cooperation toward denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula,” said Moon.

“We shared a view that peace on the Korean Peninsula is in the common interest of the three countries, and decided to work together to ensure that denuclearization and peace continue through prompt North Korea-U.S. dialogue,” he continued.

China remains North Korea’s most important regional ally, providing crucial political and economic support that has ensured the regime’s survival. However, Beijing have been left furious by the North’s recent missile tests, declaring them a major risk to regional security.

Sentiments of mutual cooperation were echoed by Chinese Premier Li, who affirmed that “dialogue and consultation is the only effective way to solve the issues of Korea Peninsula.”

“We three countries are willing to work together with the international community to solve the issue of the Korea Peninsula in a political way,” he said following the meeting.

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