The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 23 March 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on March 23, 2015

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report



Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.


2015 Asian Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting


Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi make a toast during a banquet at the South Korean Foreign Minister’s residence in Seoul March 21, 2015.



This week’s snapshot focuses on the 2015 Asian Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting between South Korea, China, and Japan.


News Summary of events during the week of 16MAR15 – 22MAR15

  • 16MAR: China, Japan and South Korea will this week hold the first meeting of their foreign ministers for three years, Tokyo said, the latest sign of a gradual thaw in East Asian relations. (AFP)
  • 17MAR: The United States welcomed a trilateral meeting to be resumed among the foreign ministers of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), calling it a “positive sign.” (Xinhua)
  • 18MAR: The foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan are likely to discuss the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as they are set to hold a three-way meeting in Seoul later this week, China’s foreign ministry said. (Yonhap)
  • 20MAR: Australia said there was a lot of merit in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank while Japan’s finance minister signaled cautious approval of the institution that the United States has warned against. (Reuters)
  • 21MAR: The foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan and China agreed on Saturday that a summit meeting of their leaders, on hold for nearly three years because of tensions over history and territory, should be held soon to mend the countries’ ties. (Reuters)
  • 21MAR: South Korea’s foreign minister was to hold bilateral meetings with his Chinese and Japanese counterparts in Seoul on Saturday on the sidelines of their trilateral talks, Seoul’s foreign ministry said. (Yonhap)
  • 22MAR: A group of veteran political and economic leaders from Japan and South Korea tasked with finding ways to improve strained bilateral relations held its first meeting in Tokyo. (Kyodo)



Sample of Twitter handles regarding the 2015 Asian Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

  • @AlastairGale – Alastair Gale, WSJ Korea Bureau chief
  • @prashantrao – Prashant Rao, Editor @AFP Asia-Pacific Newsdesk
  • @PMCroninCNAS – Senior Advisor and Senior Director, Asia-Pacific Security Program, Center for a New American Security
  • @KjeldDuits – Kjeld Duits, Japan Reporter for NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Daily)
  • @sharp_writing – Andy Sharp, Political editor for Japan/Koreas at Bloomberg



Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the 2015 Asian Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting


Lee Byong-chul, Senior Fellow, Institute for Peace and Cooperation

“For South Korea, the U.S. deployment of the Thaad is a rose it wants to pick. But roses have thorns.”

–       South Korea Tells China Not to Meddle in Decision Over Missile System, New York Times, 17MAR15


Richard Lawless, Founder and Principal, New Magellan Ventures Consulting, LLC

“Richard Lawless, a former undersecretary of defense for the Asia-Pacific, said he sees little chance of improvement in Japan-South Korea relations in the next two years. “Left unattended, this situation is going to get worse,” he said.”

–       Japan-South Korea rift weighs on US push in Asia, Associated Press, 19MAR15


Sung Yoon Lee, Assistant Professor, Fletcher School of International Affairs, Tufts University

“Seoul seeks to placate China on deploying the U.S. missile defense system … by committing itself to be a founding member of the Beijing-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.”

–       Will meeting of China, Japan and South Korea yield goodwill or more grumbling? Los Angeles Times, 20MAR15


Yang Bojiang, Deputy Director of Japanese Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

“A mechanism [for regular talks] was unlikely to be established immediately. But the success of such a mechanism will depends on Japan’s stance on wartime history.”

–       China media: Japan ties, BBC, 20MAR15


Kim Jae-chun, Professor, Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea

“There is a growing consensus in the region that things will have to improve to better deal with this paradoxical situation. The countries are heavily reliant on each other economically, but in terms of foreign policy it’s no secret that they hate each other.”

–       Asia meeting aims to calm tensions, Financial Times, 19MAR15



Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the 2015 Asian Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting


1. China, Japan, S. Korea to seek leadership summit at ‘the earliest’

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Byline: N/A
Date: 21 March 2015

Seoul, March 21, 2015 (AFP) – The foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan pledged to set up a trilateral leadership summit at “the earliest” opportunity as they met in Seoul on Saturday for the first time in nearly three years.

The talks were an effort to calm regional tensions stoked by territorial disputes and historical rows with roots in Japan’s colonisation of the Korean peninsula and occupation of parts of China before and during World War II.

In a joint statement, South Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Byung-Se and his Chinese and Japanese counterparts, Wang Yi and Fumio Kishida, said they had agreed to work towards a three-way summit of their respective leaders “at the earliest convenient time.”


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2. Top South Korea, Japan, China envoys aim to damp tension, discuss missiles, regional bank


Media: Reuters

Byline: N/A

Date: 20 March 2015


SEOUL (Reuters) – The foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan and China on Saturday hold their first meeting in three years, in a bid to warm frosty ties and restore a regular three-way summit of their leaders, stalled because of tensions over history and territory.


The top diplomats also held bilateral meetings to discuss whether South Korea and Japan will join a China-led development bank and the potential deployment of a U.S. air defense system to counter North Korea’s missile threat.


The meetings take place against the backdrop of South Korea and China’s cool ties with Japan over what they see as its reluctance to properly atone for its wartime past. Both also have territorial disputes with Tokyo over islands.


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3. China, Japan hold first security meeting in 4 years


Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 19 March 2015


TOKYO, March 19 (Xinhua) — Foreign and defense officials from China and Japan kicked off a high-level security meeting here on Thursday, the first one between the two sides in more than four years.


Liu Jianchao, China’s assistant foreign minister, told the meeting that international security situation has changed dramatically in the four years and the situation around China and Japan is also getting more sophisticated during the period.


It is important to keep dialogue between the two countries’ foreign and defense ministries as the two sides are important neighbors and regional powers, adding the meeting is also of significance to maintain regional peace, he said.


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4. China calls on countries interested in AIIB to join by March 31


Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 18 March 2015


BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) — China has called on all countries interested in joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to make their decisions before the deadline on March 31.


“March 31 is the deadline for countries to apply to join the bank as founding members, but the door will always be open for interested countries,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing on Wednesday.


The China-proposed AIIB, with an expected initial subscribed capital of 50 billion U.S. dollars, will be an international financial institution to fund infrastructure projects in Asia. It is expected to be formally established by the end of 2015.


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5. S. Korea’s trade with Japan down for 3 straight years in 2014


Media: Yonhap (South Korea)

Byline: N/A

Date: 18 March 2015


SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s trade with Japan declined for the third straight year in 2014, affected by the falling Japanese yen, which hurt Korean products’ price competitiveness there and led to less demand, a report showed Wednesday.


According to the report by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), the bilateral trade between South Korea and Japan came to US$85.95 billion last year, down 9.2 percent from a year earlier.


Last year, South Korea’s exports to Japan fell 7.2 percent on-year to $32.18 billion, with its imports from the country also shrinking 10.4 percent to $53.77 billion.


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