FUKUOKA, Japan, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak held a tripartite meeting on Saturday to promote cooperation.
At the meeting, they discussed trilateral ties, the ongoing global financial crisis and other issues of common concern.
Wen said at the start of the meeting that all major economies have been hit by the deepening global financial crisis, and economic growth and people's life have been severely affected across the world.
Regional cooperation in Asia faces new opportunities and challenges, he added.
Under these particular circumstances, it is of practical importance for the three leaders to discuss ways to strengthen trilateral cooperation, jointly address the financial crisis, boost economic growth, promote integration in East Asia, and safeguard stability of the region and the larger world, Wen said.
The three Asian countries are important trade partners among one another.
Japan is now China's third largest trading partner, while China is Japan's largest trading partner.
Trade between China and Japan topped 236 billion U.S. dollars in 2007, a 213-fold increase over some 1.1 billion dollars in 1972when the two countries established diplomatic ties.
China's trade with South Korea has also expanded fast. China has become South Korea's biggest trading partner, and two-way trade reached 159 billion dollars last year.
This is the first time the trilateral meeting was held alone. Previously, eight tripartite meetings took place on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus Three summits in ASEAN member countries.
Before the meeting, Wen met Lee and Aso respectively to discuss bilateral relations and issues of common concern.
The three leaders are expected to issue a joint statement on the tripartite partnership relations after the meeting.
The three leaders then will hold a joint press conference and meet representatives of youth from the three countries.