September 27, 2011
On 27 October 2011, the official opening ceremony of the China-Korea-Japan Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat was held in Seoul. The Secretariat is a largely symbolic body to promote cooperation between the three states, but holds significant potential in the context of Korea’s regional diplomacy.
The opening ceremony was attended by government officials from each country, including the Secretariat’s current leadership: Secretary-General Shin Bong-Kil, former Ambassador for International Economic Cooperation; Deputy Secretary-General Matsukawa Rui, Counselor at the Japanese Embassy in Korea; and Deputy Secretary-General Mao Ning, Director of the Office for Korean Peninsula of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The Secretariat commenced operations on 1 September 2011 and will operate under a rotating leadership structure.
The ultimate aim of the China-Korea-Japan Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat is to enhance existing dialogue mechanisms. The three states have concluded 17 ministerial conferences and more than 50 official dialogues. A permanent secretariat will ultimately enable these disparate dialogue mechanisms to be better coordinated, thus reducing inefficiencies in the current processes.