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S. Korea, Japan, China leaders reaffirm commitment to Korean Peninsula peace

TOKYO, May 27 (KUNA) -- Leaders of South Korea, Japan and China reaffirmed their commitment to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula during their summit in Seoul on Monday, hours after the North announced a satellite launch plan.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese Premier Li Qiang reached the agreement after the North notified Japan of its plan to launch a space rocket carrying a military spy satellite sometime before June 4, according to a report by Yonhap News Agency.
"We reaffirmed that maintaining peace, stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia serves our common interest and is our common responsibility," a joint declaration of the trilateral summit said.
"We reiterated positions on regional peace and stability, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the abduction issue, respectively. We agree to continue to make positive efforts for the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue," it added.
The abduction issue is one of several files straining Tokyo's ties with Pyongyang. Japan has accused the North of kidnapping 17 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s. During the session, Yoon and Kishida denounced the North's satellite launch plan as a violation of the UN Security Council resolutions that ban its use of ballistic missile technology.
Pyongyang said it would send three more satellites into space this year, following its first launch in November. "The international community must respond firmly," Yoon said during a joint press briefing after the talks.
Kishida echoed his concerns, urging Pyongyang to cease its activities. "If it proceeds, it will be a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. We strongly urge North Korea to cease this activity," he said.
China's Li called on all related countries to exercise restraint to mitigate tensions while avoiding a direct mention of North Korea, saying "China has consistently worked to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and is pushing for a political resolution to the peninsula issue." "Relevant parties should exercise restraint and prevent the situation from worsening and becoming more complicated," Li said during the briefing. China's No. 2 official also called for joint efforts to foster cooperation through "mutual respect and trust." "Korea, Japan and China should properly handle sensitive issues and conflicts, consider each other's core interests and significant concerns, and practice genuine multilateralism to jointly safeguard stability in the Northeast Asian region," Li said.
The leaders discussed ways to promote cooperation in six specific areas -- economy and trade, sustainable development, health issues, science and technology, disaster and safety management, and people-to-people exchanges.
Monday's session was the first three-way meeting since December 2019 after it was suspended for a prolonged period due to COVID-19 and historical disputes among the Asian neighbors. (end) mk.rk