MARSEILLE, France, March 13 (Xinhua) -- China, Japan and Republic of Korea (ROK) inked Tuesday the Memorandum of Cooperation on the Mechanism of Ministerial Meeting to boost trilateral cooperation on water challenges.
"All situated in North-East Asia, China, Japan and ROK ... have maintained extensive exchanges and effective cooperation in the water field," said Chen Lei, China's Minister of Water Resources, at the signing ceremony of the memorandum during the Sixth World Water Forum.
As the world's largest meeting around water, the triennial forum was launched under the theme of "Time for Solutions" in the southern French city of Marseille on Monday to address the planet's deepening crisis of fresh water.
The three neighboring countries delivered a Message from the Joint Sessions during the fourth forum in Mexico City in 2006, and signed, during the last forum in Istanbul in 2009, a joint statement which proposed "a mechanism for meeting of ministers responsible for water resources in due course, focusing on integrated river management and water resources management adapting to climate change."
Water ministries of the three countries have reached consensus on establishing the Mechanism of Ministerial Meeting, "which will unfold a new chapter for the cooperation between the three countries in the water sector," said Chen.
To give a full play to the cooperation mechanism, the minister called for efforts to strengthen coordination and cooperation between the three countries in important international conferences and support important international water events held by the three countries.
Focus should be put on topics of common interest to the three countries and dialogues, exchanges and information-sharing should be promoted in water issues, he said.
He also proposed the three countries should encourage joint research in key areas related to water.
"I am confident that through joint efforts and sincere cooperation of the three countries, we will surely accomplish new progress with regard to major water problems and key water areas, and make greater contribution to the solution of global water problems and sustainable utilization of water resources," Chen said.
His remarks were echoed by senior water officials from Japan and South Korea who also attended the signing ceremony.
"I believe our joint action will promote the solution of water issues of our three countries and contribute to the solution of water issues in other regions," said Okuda Ken, Senior Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan.
"I hope the three countries can play an active role in solving the water issues in the Asian-Pacific Region and the world at large," said Han Man-Hee, Vice Minister of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Korea.
Han Man-Hee added that he hoped China and Japan can support and participate in activities during the Seventh World Water Forum to be held in Daegu Gyeongbuk of his country in 2015.