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S. Korea Eyes Drawing up Cooperation Roadmap with China, Japan

South Korea is working on a plan to put together a specific road map for increasing trilateral cooperation with China and Japan in an effort to overcome history and territorial tensions weighing on the neighbors despite their high economic interdependence, government officials said Sunday.

South Korea has proposed setting up a trilateral cooperation vision group (TCVG) that will be tasked with drawing up the cooperation road map by 2016. The foreign ministry is discussing the idea with its counterparts in Beijing and Tokyo, officials said.

In 2010, the three countries adopted a broad cooperation blueprint, known as "cooperation vision 2020," and the foreseen vision group is expected to flesh out the broad plan through meetings of experts representing the three countries, officials said.

Four experts from each country are expected to take part in the vision group. Also under consideration is forming three subcommittees under the vision group, one on political and security affairs, another on economic and finance matters, and the third on cultural and people-to-people exchanges, officials said.

The three countries could formally launch the vision group when they hold a three-way summit later this year. The three countries have held a trilateral summit in the first half of every year since 2008, but this year's meeting has been put off due to territorial tensions.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has put forward the "Northeast Asia peace and cooperation initiative" in an effort to overcome what she called the "Asia Paradox" and make the region more peaceful by eliminating history and territorial tensions.

The initiative, also known as the "Seoul process," calls for countries in the region to start with softer, non-political issues, such as environmental issues, disaster relief, nuclear safety and counter-terrorism, so as to foster trust and expand cooperation before tackling political and security matters.

Source Text

Source: Yonhap News (July 14, 2013)

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