February 03, 2010 10:00
The permanent secretariat of an East Asian cooperative body consisting of Korea, China and Japan will be established in Seoul next year, the first time the headquarters of a multilateral body is based in Korea.
The leaders of the three countries are expected to announce the decision at the third tripartite summit here this year.
The three countries reached agreement on the establishing the secretariat in Seoul in diplomatic talks on Monday, a Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday. He said the body will be to Northeast Asia what ASEAN is to Southeast Asia.
The diplomatic talks in Beijing were attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Yong-joon, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue, and Japanese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Kenichiro Sasae.
The official added the secretariat was proposed by President Lee Myung-bak at the tripartite summit in Beijing last year. Both China and Japan agreed it should be based in Seoul. "The secretariat will help cooperation among the three countries to proceed quickly and ultimately contribute to creating a Northeast Asian community," he said.
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