(Yicai Global) July 23 -- China has seen more favorable conditions to boost regional cooperation with Northeast Asia and will actively promote the construction of a China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor and step up efforts in third-party market collaboration between China and Japan and China and South Korea.
It will also fast-track talks on a China-Japan-South Korea free trade zone and the second-phase discussions on a China-South Korea free trade agreement, Li Chenggang, assistant minister of commerce, said at a press conference in Beijing yesterday.
China's trade volume with Northeast Asian neighbors Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Russia and Mongolia totaled around USD758.6 billion last year, making up nearly a quarter of the country's total foreign trade, Li stated, adding China is the largest trade partner of these five countries, and Japan and South Korea are China's second- and third-largest trade partners, respectively, with the China-Japan and China-South Korea trading volumes both exceeding USD300 billion.
Japan had directly invested USD113.7 billion in China and South Korea had laid out USD80.2 billion as of May. The two are China's largest and fourth-biggest source of foreign investment, per MOFCOM statistics.
The situation in Northeast Asia is stable and will further improve, creating more favorable conditions for regional cooperation, Li noted, adding countries in the area will have a promising future in multi-field cooperation under China's Belt and Road initiative to build global trade routes.
Economic and trade ministers from China, Japan and South Korea met and announced the start of negotiations on a China-Japan-South Korea free trade zone at the East Asian leaders' meetings held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Nov. 20, 2012. The China-South Korea free trade agreement came into force in December 2015, and the two countries penned a framework agreement in December 2017 to start the second-phase negotiations on the FTA.
Editor: Ben Armour