I am deeply grateful to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the people of Japan for making their best efforts to arrange this summit and warmly welcoming both the Korean and Chinese delegations.
Our three countries are the closest neighbors historically, geographically and culturally. We are also the most important partners responsible for peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia. Today, Prime Minister Abe, Premier Li Keqiang and I reaffirmed the importance of trilateral ties and intensively discussed ways to enhance cooperation. More than anything else, we shared a common understanding that the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the settlement of permanent peace and the improvement of inter-Korean relations are crucial for peace and prosperity not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in Northeast Asia.
I am especially grateful to the two leaders that they welcomed and supported the Panmunjeom Declaration through the adoption of a special statement. We look forward to continued close communication and cooperation among our three countries in the process of settling permanent peace, and promise to work together.
The ultimate goal of trilateral cooperation is to ensure that people in the three countries feel the actual impact of the achievements of cooperation and enjoy the benefits. To this end, we agreed to expand substantive cooperation and enhance collaboration to create future growth engines. While joining forces to tackle life-threatening factors such as fine dust, infectious diseases and chronic illnesses, we three leaders also agreed to continue identifying concrete and substantive projects for cooperation in energy as well as in information and communications technology.
Interaction and communication among people in the three countries have to be expanded further and reinvigorated for the enhancement of trilateral cooperation. The series of Olympics in Northeast Asia, which began with the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and will be followed by the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
At today's summit, we confirmed the importance of people-to-people and cultural exchanges, including exchanges in sports, and agreed to work together to increase the number of people traveling back and forth among our three countries to exceed 30 million by 2020. Among other things, we will further promote youth exchange programs such as the CAMPUS Asia Program. I hope such programs will present new opportunities for young people in our three countries and become a source of hope.
Institutionalizing three-way cooperation is more important than anything else. The trilateral summit is a solid foundation for peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia. Today, we had a shared understanding and reaffirmed our determination to hold the summit regularly.
In addition, we concurred on the need to expand the role of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) as the center that promotes three-way cooperation and to increase support for the TCS.
Our three nations are playing a significant role in leading the growth and development of the global economy, accounting for one-fifth of the world’s population, one-fourth of the world’s GDP and one-fifth of world trade. We also share the responsibility for settling peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. I am confident that if we join forces, we will be able to open a new era of peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. Now the three countries will become genuine partners that will create a great transformation in world history.
I hope that today’s summit has become a milestone that will further deepen and develop three-way cooperation. I am deeply grateful to the two leaders who willingly unified our voices.
Thank you very much.