SEOUL/TOKYO, President Moon Jae-in called for stepped-up efforts Wednesday to conclude negotiations for regional free trade pacts involving South Korea, Japan and China, saying increased cooperation between the three countries will also help ensure peace and prosperity in the region.
"The global economy is facing difficulties, but I believe this could rather be an opportunity for our three countries. Should the three countries work together and break away from the conventional methods of success to find a more comprehensive and more innovative method of growth, they may be able to start setting the tone for a new global order," Moon said in a joint business summit of the three countries in Tokyo.
The business forum followed a three-way summit of the countries, involving Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, both of whom were also present at the business summit.
Moon stressed the need for the three countries to jointly tackle trade protectionism.
"To this end, I hope the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will be concluded at an early date, along with swift progress in negotiations for a South Korea-China-Japan free trade agreement," he said.
RCEP is a regional free trade pact that currently involves 16 nations, including the three Northeast Asian nations and all 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
"Our three countries have achieved extraordinary economic growth thanks to the efforts of you, business leaders. Now, I propose we expand our cooperation to various other areas so the people of the three nations may realize their lives have actually improved," the South Korean president told the meeting.
The potential areas for increased cooperation included the energy, environment and health-welfare sectors, he noted.
"Should the three countries, which are the largest consumers of liquefied natural gas in the global market, work together, they will be able to secure natural gas more economically and stably," Moon said.
"I also hope the country will swiftly push ahead for a Northeast Asian super grid aimed at building a regional energy community, starting with researches in the private sector," he added.
The president also asked for the business leaders' support for efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
"Should peace be established on the Korean Peninsula, many more business and investment opportunities will be created for you business leaders. I ask for your active support and cooperation."
Source: Yonhap News Agency