China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) signed in Seoul on Dec.16 an agreement on establishing a trilateral cooperation secretariat, a landmark accord that represents the first treaty among the three nations.

RoK Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Xinsen and Japanese Ambassador Masatoshi Muto signed the agreement.

Under the agreement, the secretariat will be set up at the Songdo area of Incheon, west of Seoul , in 2011 and an ambassadorial-level RoK diplomat will first take the rotating headship as secretary-general.

According to a press release issued on the same day, RoK Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said the agreement is the "first-ever treaty signed between the three governments".

The secretariat is expected to make cooperation among the three countries more substantial so as to consolidate and expand trilateral cooperation in both quality and quantity, he said.
The Japanese and Chinese ambassadors also celebrated the signing, saying the secretariat will accelerate trilateral cooperation projects and is meaningful in promoting peace and stability in the northeast Asian region.

RoK President Lee Myung-bak first proposed the idea when he held three-way summit talks with his Chinese and Japanese counterparts in Beijing last year. In May, the three countries signed a memorandum on the matter at a trilateral summit in the RoK’s southern island of Jeju./.