The top diplomats of Japan, China and South Korea have had a three-way meeting for the first time in three years and confirmed they will work closely over North Korea.
Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Chinese and South Korean counterparts, Wang Yi and Kang Kyung-wha, met in the suburbs of Beijing on Wednesday.
After the talks, the three officials said they discussed cooperation toward denuclearizing Korean Peninsula, a common goal for the three countries, as well as the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea. Recently, the country has repeatedly fired what appear to be short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.
Kono said he sought support from China and South Korea for an early resolution to the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals.
The foreign ministers also agreed to work together to realize a three-way summit as early as this year.
They confirmed they will try to conclude talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership -- a free-trade framework involving 16 Asia-Pacific countries -- this year. The acceleration of trilateral free trade talks was also agreed.
Kono said the three East Asian nations account for one-fifth of the world's GDP and bear grave responsibility for regional and global stability and prosperity. He said he wants to deepen their three-way cooperation.
The Japanese foreign minister also indirectly referred to strained ties between Tokyo and Seoul. He said the relationship between two of the three neighbors sometimes sours, but cooperation among all three countries should be steadily promoted.