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Sunday, March 20, 2011
Trilateral meet agrees on nuclear safety info, disaster response steps
KYOTO — Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto and his counterparts from China and South Korea promised Saturday to strengthen cooperation in responding to natural disasters and providing information on nuclear safety issues.
Matsumoto met individually with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan, while the main trilateral meeting included discussions on disaster prevention measures.
The summit, postponed twice by Japan, came amid the unfolding nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station.
"We emphasized the importance of disaster preparedness and nuclear safety, and on strong cooperation among the three nations on both issues that leads to detailed results," Matsumoto said at the trilateral meeting's conclusion.
Kim said it was critical the three nations work more closely on nuclear safety issues. He also called on North Korea to halt its uranium enrichment program.
Meanwhile, Yang said China would continue to help the Japanese people with disaster relief aid. On North Korea, Yang called for the early restart of the six-party talks to deal with the issue.
But increased communications in the event of a disaster, especially if it is a nuclear accident, was on the minds of the ministers.
Beijing and Seoul both expressed concern last week that Tokyo was not providing sufficient briefings or timely information about the plant's crippled reactors.
Matsumoto assured Tokyo would provide information rapidly.
At the Japan-South Korea bilateral meeting held earlier in the day, Kim offered his condolences over the Tohoku quake and tsunami, noting the South was one of the first countries to send assistance and adding more would soon be on the way.
Matsumoto briefed Kim on the Fukushima nuclear crisis and Japan's efforts to stop radiation leaks.
They also discussed their hopes for an early conclusion of an economic partnership agreement and touched on security issues pertaining to North Korea.