(Yicai Global) June 15 -- China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Zone negotiations are actively advancing, said a senior official of China's ministry of commerce (MOFCOM). The cooperation within the context of the "Greater Tumen Initiative," the Tumen river area development program between China, Russia, Mongolia and South Korea, is becoming more pragmatic, and the construction of China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor has commenced, said Wu Zhengping, director general of MOFCOM's Asian Affairs department.
The relevant parties to all three schemes have conducted active exchanges under the mechanisms of APEC, G20 and SCO, Wu added. He was speaking at a press conference held today to promote the 11th China-Northeast Asia Expo to be held in Jilin province in September. China and the five nations in Northeast Asia have had various forms of cooperation, and have achieved concrete results in economic and trade cooperation, Wu emphasized.
In 2016, China's total trade volume with the five nations in the region reached about USD605.9 billion, accounting for 16.4 percent of China's total foreign trade. Bilateral trade between China and Japan amounted to USD274.8 billion, while China-South Korea trade hit USD252.6 billion. Trade volume between China and Russia reached USD68.6 billion, and China-North Korea bilateral trade amounted to USD5.4 billion. China-Mongolia bilateral trade was USD4.6 billion. Of the Northeast Asian countries, South Korea and Japan were the second and the third largest sources of foreign investment in China last year.
All five Northeast Asian countries attached great importance to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative cooperation, and sent delegations to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing last month, Wu reminded. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mongolia's Prime Minister J.Erdenebat personally led their respective delegations to attend the forum. The Belt and Road Initiative cooperation provides a new platform for strengthening regional cooperation in Northeast Asia and expanding economic and trade cooperation between China and the countries in the region, with potential to bring more cooperation opportunities among them, Wu added.