China, Japan, SKorea to tackle financial crisis
By JAESOON CHANG,Associated Press Writer AP - Friday, December 12
SEOUL, South Korea - The global financial turmoil and the standoff over North Korea's nuclear programs will top the agenda when leaders of South Korea, China and Japan meet this weekend, a senior Seoul official said Thursday.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso are scheduled to hold a summit in the Japanese city of Fukuoka on Saturday.
"The three leaders will focus discussions on financial issues," a senior aide to President Lee told reporters. "Financial cooperation among the three countries will contribute to stabilizing the global financial market."
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity citing office policy, said the impasse over North Korea's nuclear program will also be a key topic at the upcoming talks.
China also said the financial crisis will be a major agenda item.
"Under the current financial crisis, the cooperation among the three countries and the meeting among the leaders of the three countries are of very important significance," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said. "We hope the three countries can join hands to meet the financial crisis."
The three Northeast Asian nations have held summits on the sidelines of broader international meetings but it's the first time they'll be holding an independent three-way summit.
Besides the main trilateral session, South Korea will also hold bilateral meetings with China and Japan.
South Korea hopes to use those meetings to conclude agreements with its neighbors that will allow Seoul greater access to the foreign currency reserves of Tokyo and Beijing, the official said.
Those deals, if reached, will help reduce fears Seoul could suffer a foreign exchange crisis due to the global financial turmoil.
Associated Press writer Anita Chang in Beijing contributed to this report.
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