Asian powers agree to ensure geopolitics don't threaten recovery

Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images

Financial policymakers of Japan, China and South Korea agreed to work together to ensure that geopolitical tensions will not threaten the region's economic recovery.

"We recognize that the global recovery continues, while it is uneven and downside risks remain," the finance ministers and central bank governors said in a statement issued after their first trilateral meeting in more than two years.

"We shared the view that we should strengthen our regional capabilities to manage financial and economic risks and respond to possible crisis" through policy dialogue, they said after the meeting, held on the sidelines of the Group of 20 finance leaders' gathering in the Australian city of Cairns.

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The policymakers agreed to hold the next trilateral meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, in May 2015.

Friday's trilateral meeting was the first such meeting since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to power in 2012, after ties between Japan and its neighbors soured due to maritime territorial disputes and rows over the legacy of Japan's wartime aggression in Asia.

The three countries used to hold regular financial meetings, usually on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank's annual conference.

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But in recent years, financial cooperation between Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul has stalled, including over agreements such as one that would enable Japan to buy Chinese government debt.

A December 2013 visit by Abe to Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine, seen by critics as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, also frayed relations with the two Asian neighbors, where memories of the wartime past run deep.

Abe has been calling for leaders' summits with both countries to improve relations and has said he would like to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific leaders summit in Beijing on Nov. 10-11.

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Since Abe took office for a rare second time in December 2012, he has not been able to hold two-way summits with either Xi or South Korean President Park Geun-hye.