ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on November 20th, 2012 at 3:32 am

South Korea, Japan, and China To Explore Joint Free Trade Agreement

This would be an incredible free trade zone if some deal was worked out:

South Korea, China and Japan are set to officially declare the launch of negotiations for a “the three-country free trade agreement” on Nov. 20. Choi Kyung-lim, the chief South Korean negotiator said on Nov. 18, “The final confirmation will be made after tomorrow’s report to the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee of the National Assembly, but our plan for now is to officially declare the launch of negotiations on Nov. 20.”The launch of negotiations is to coincide with the schedule of the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the East Asia Summit (EAS), which are slated for Nov. 19.

The declaration would be announced during the meeting of the three countries’ trade ministers rather than as a joint announcement by the three heads of state. Kim Young-jun, public relations officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, “I’ve been informed that the chances are low that the summit meeting between China and Japan will be held due to territorial conflicts. As such, it is forecast that trade ministers of the three countries might launch the negotiations in a meeting.”A senior official with the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said, “I heard that a final agreement is being made to carry out negotiations at a meeting of trade ministers, not through a summit meeting.”  [Hankyoreh]

You can read the rest at the link, but this is one of those issues that all the players know it is likely in their interest to come to an agreement on.  However, it would take exceptional leadership from all three sides to make that happen due to the historical baggage involved and that is why I don’t see a deal happening any time soon.

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