Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang called on South Korea and Japan this Monday to reject China’s “protectionism” and economic “decoupling”, at the opening of a trilateral summit in Seoul.

“Li called on South Korea and Japan not to turn economic and trade issues into political games or security issues and to reject protectionism, decoupling or disruption in supply chains,” Chinese state media reported.

The minister made the appeal during the opening of the ninth Trilateral Summit between China, Japan and South Korea. The first trilateral meeting in more than four years is seen as a positive sign to ease tensions in Northeast Asia.

Leaders of China, Japan and South Korea meet for the first time since 2019


“It is necessary to improve economic and commercial connectivity, strengthen cooperation in regional industrial and supply chains, and work to restart negotiations on a trilateral free trade agreement,” Li said, according to a note shared by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The objective of the world’s main economies to reduce risks in trade with China was established last year by the G7 group. In this strategy, foreign companies can do business with the Asian country, but with some safeguards: vetoing the sale of critical technologies with potential military uses and reducing dependencies in supply chains.

Japan and South Korea have already restricted the supply to Chinese entities of chips semiconductors advanced, essential components in the production of high technology, including artificial intelligence, but which also has military applications.

Among the biggest risks is the possibility of a conflict in Taiwan, which Beijing claims as Chinese territory despite functioning as a sovereign political entity. An invasion of the island by China is likely to trigger a conflict that will involve the United States, Japan and other countries in the region.

Taiwan President says he is ready to work with China

“It is important for the three countries to properly deal with sensitive issues, differences and disagreements, accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns, and practice true multilateralism, to jointly safeguard security and stability in Northeast Asia,” said Li Qiang .

Li Qiang made these comments on Sunday, during a meeting with Lee Jae-yong, president of Samsung Electronics, on the eve of the trilateral summit between South Korea, China and Japan.

The global giant in the production of semiconductors and mobile phones, which is one of the largest foreign companies in China, has invested billions of dollars in facilities to produce chips and electronic products.

“Foreign companies are essential to China’s development and the Chinese mega market will always be open to foreign companies,” said Li, during the meeting with the director of Samsung, according to the official Chinese news agency Xinhua.

“Beijing will adopt measures such as expanding market access to improve the business environment, so that foreign companies can have confidence in their investment and development in China,” he added.

China welcomes South Korean companiesincluding Samsung, so that they continue to develop their investment and cooperation in China”, he stressed.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China recently stated that its members face difficulties in the country, particularly in terms of market access and regulatory barriers.

During his meeting with the president of Samsung, Li Qiang also “called on companies in China and South Korea to further explore their potential for cooperation in new domains such as artificial intelligence”, reported the local press.

Samsung is one of the few companies capable of producing chips advanced semiconductors, essential components in the production of high technology, including artificial intelligence, but which also have military applications.

Os chips They are at the center of the technological struggle between the United States and China. Washington has taken a series of measures to prevent China from accessing cutting-edge semiconductor technologies, including offering billions worth of incentives to companies like Samsung to relocate production to the US.

US is “constantly” evaluating semiconductor exports to China

On the eve of the meeting, the President of South KoreaYoon Suk-yeol, o Chinese Prime MinisterLi Qiang, eo Japanese Prime MinisterFumio Kishida, held a series of bilateral meetings, which included some thorny issues, such as North Korea, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

After the meeting with Li, Kishida said that expressed concern regarding the situation in the South China Sea, in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang region, in northwest China. Kishida also stated that Japan is closely monitoring developments in the situation on the autonomous island of Taiwan.

Kishida referred to China’s military assertiveness in the South China Sea, the repression of pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong and human rights violations against ethnic minorities of Muslim origin in Xinjiang. Last week, the China also launched a major military exercise around Taiwan to show his anger at the inauguration of the island’s new leader, who refuses to accept that the territory is part of China.

China says it surrounded Taiwan to test takeover of the island

When Yoon met with Li separately on Sunday, he talked about the program North Korea’s nuclear weapons and deepening military ties with Russia, and asked China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to contribute to promoting peace on the Korean peninsula, according to the South Korean prime minister’s office.

North Korea confirms missile launch and promises to reinforce “nuclear force”

South Korea, Japan and the United States have long urged China – North Korea’s main ally and economic partner – to use its influence to persuade Pyongyang to abandon nuclear ambitions. But China is suspected of avoid the full application of UN sanctions against the North Korean regime and sending clandestine shipments of aid to the impoverished neighbor.

In a development that could further increase tensions on the Korean peninsula, the Japanese coast guard said on Monday that North Korea had informed it of a plan to launch a satellite early next week, in a likely effort by the country to put the second military spy satellite into orbit. A North Korea said it needs spy satellites to monitor South Korea and the United States and improve the precision capabilities of its missiles.

Sensitive topics involving China is not on the official meeting agenda this Monday.

Officials from South Korea, host of the meeting, said a joint statement after the trilateral meeting will cover the leaders’ discussion on the cooperation in areas such as interpersonal exchangeclimate change, trade, health issues, technology and disaster response.

As three asian nations Together they represent around 25% of the world’s gross domestic product. But their relations have suffered setbacks, due to issues related to Japan’s wartime aggressionChina’s ambitions to be the dominant power in the region and the US effort to strengthen its Asian alliances.

A South Korea and Japan are both key US allies in the region. His initiatives to strengthen the trilateral security partnership with the United States have been the subject of rebukes from China.

A trilateral meeting China – South Korea – Japan It was supposed to take place annually, after the first meeting in 2008. But the sessions have been interrupted since the last one, in December 2019, in Chengdu, China, due to the covid-19 pandemic and the worsening of ties between the three countries.


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