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Forum discusses strengthening exchanges S. Korea, China, Japan

(Xinhua)

16:28, October 15, 2012

SEOUL, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat involving South Korea, China and Japan held a forum in Seoul Monday, marking the first anniversary of the establishment of the organization.

The Seoul-headquartered office was founded last year after the leaders of the three countries agreed at a 2010 summit to set up a standing organization devoted to promoting three-way cooperation through joint projects.

The inaugural forum Monday brought together South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, vice president of Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs Lu Shumin, and former Japanese Science and Technology Minister Nakagawa Masharu.

"The three countries are seized with unfortunate undercurrents of conflict due to ongoing territorial disputes and history issues. " Shin Bong-kil, who heads the secretariat, said in opening remarks, referring to recent diplomatic tensions in the region.

"(But) I am optimistic that the three countries can ultimately overcome the current tensions and open a new era of cooperation," he added, calling global peace and prosperity "common responsibilities" the three neighbors share.

The one-day forum, which included presentations by scholars and media representatives, discussed a range of issues such as maritime security, a three-way free trade agreement and leadership changes in the region.

The participants also discussed ways to further promote economic cooperation and cultural exchanges.

The forum will be held annually, according to organizers. Most viewed commentaries

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