BEIJING, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao met here Monday morning with Republic of Korea (ROK) President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
Lee and Noda are in Beijing to attend the Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting among China, the ROK and Japan held from Sunday to Monday.
Hu hailed the positive results achieved during the trilateral summit meeting chaired by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, saying the trilateral cooperation has become an important platform for the three East Asian countries to cement good-neighborly friendship and expand common interests.
He said it is "very necessary and urgent" for China, Japan and the ROK to unite more closely for self development, and seek common development.
The three countries, Hu said, should handle and deepen trilateral cooperation from a strategic height and long-term perspective, so as to promote mutual benefit and contribute to regional and global peace, stability and prosperity.
China highly values its ties with the ROK and Japan, and stands ready to work with the two countries to cement mutual trust and practical cooperation, properly handle existing problems and differences, respect and accommodate each other's major concerns, and promote sustainable, healthy and stable development of its relationship with the two countries, according to Hu.
In general, the China-ROK and China-Japan relationship now maintains sound development momentum, the Chinese president said.
During the meeting, Lee hailed the summit as being greatly significant as it witnessed agreements reached on starting the construction of a free trade area and promoting investment.
Lee expressed hope that the three countries can continuously strengthen exchanges and cooperation in such fields as politics, the economy and culture, and make efforts to promote regional stability and development as well as world economic recovery.
Japan, according to Noda, hopes the three nations take the opportunities secured at the summit, to enhance mutual trust, uplift trade, cooperation over investment and the economy, expand personnel exchanges, especially among young people, and make efforts to safeguard regional stability and development.
Lee and Noda also expressed willingness to work with China to enhance communication and coordination on bilateral cooperation and important regional issues.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan ties and the Year of China-Japan Friendly Exchanges. It is also the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-ROK diplomatic relations and the Year of China-ROK Friendly Exchanges.
As a crucial and integral part of East Asia cooperation, the process of trilateral cooperation among China, Japan and the ROK was initiated in 1999, on the sidelines of the ASEAN plus China, Japan and the ROK summit. Practical cooperation has since grown rapidly, with trilateral trade volume more than quintupled from 130 billion U.S. dollars in 1999 to near 700 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.
China has been on top of the trade partner lists of both Japan and the ROK for many years, as the latter two remained major trade partners and sources of investment to China.
Since 2008, leaders of the three countries have met five times outside the ASEAN plus China, Japan and the ROK framework.
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