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South Korea, China and Japan on Tuesday held their second round of working-level
meetings in the Chinese city of Qingdao to discuss launching free trade talks
within the year, Seoul's foreign ministry said.
During the talks, trade officials from the three countries agreed to continue efforts for arrangements required for the launch of the trilateral free trade negotiations by the year-end, according to the ministry.
The meeting came as the Asian neighbors signed a three-way accord aimed at promoting corporate direct investment in May. A similar working-level meeting was held in June.
During the meeting, they also agreed to strengthen cooperation to build an East Asian economic community so as to contribute to the global economic recovery, the ministry added.
South Korea and China are currently in talks over their bilateral free trade agreement. Free trade talks between Seoul and Tokyo have been stalled since late 2004, mainly because of Japan's reluctance to lower tariffs on agricultural goods.