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Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat

The Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) is an international organization established with a vision to promote peace and common prosperity among China, Japan, and South Korea.[1] Upon the agreement signed and ratified by each of the three governments, the TCS was officially inaugurated in Seoul, September 2011.[2] On the basis of equal participation, each government shares 1/3 of total operational budget.


1999 – Proposed by the Japanese Prime Minister Keizō Obuchi, the leaders of the three countries joined for a breakfast meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN+3 Summit. This meeting marked the first step for developing the trilateral cooperation and its framework.[3]
2008 – The first Trilateral Summit was held in Fukuoka.
2009 – South Korean President Lee Myung-bak proposed the establishment of a permanent secretariat at the 2nd Trilateral Summit held in Beijing, China.
2010Agreement on the Establishment of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat[4] was signed by the leaders of the three countries.
2011 – Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat was established in Seoul.[5]


The TCS consists of a Consultative Board and four Departments. The Consultative Board, which is the executive decision-making body of the organization, is composed of a Secretary-General and two Deputy Secretary-Generals. The Secretary-General is appointed on a two-year rotational basis in the order of the South Korea, Japan, and China. Each country other than the one of the Secretary-General nominates a Deputy Secretary-General respectively. Under the Consultative Board, there are four Departments of Political Affairs, Economic Affairs, Socio-Cultural Affairs, and Management. The Four Departments are composed of officials seconded by the three countries, and General Service Staff recruited through open competition from the three countries.

TCS Secretary-General

  1. South Korea (1 September 2011 – 31 August 2013)
    • Japan & Mao Ning China (Deputies)
  2. Japan (1 September 2013 – 31 August 2015)
    • China & South Korea (Deputies)
  3. Yang Houlan China (1 September 2015 – 31 August 2017)
    • South Korea & Japan (Deputies)
  4. South Korea(1 September 2017 – )
    • China & Japan (Deputies)

Functions and Activities


  1. Provide administrative and technical support for the operation and management of such trilateral consultative mechanisms among the three countries as the Trilateral Summit Meeting, the Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the Three-Party Committee and other ministerial meetings, and the Trilateral Senior Foreign Affairs Officials’ Consultation and to send, if necessary, its representatives to attend major consultative mechanisms.
  2. Communicate and coordinate with the three countries and, if necessary, with other international organizations.
  3. Explore and identify potential cooperative projects among the three countries and report those projects to the relevant consultative mechanisms for adoption.
  4. Evaluate the cooperative projects and draft reports on them, compile necessary documents into database, and submit annual progress reports to the Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting for approval.
  5. Conduct research on important issues related to the trilateral cooperation, manage the Secretariat’s website, and promote understanding of the trilateral cooperation.[6]


Participation in trilateral consultative mechanisms

  • Trilateral Summit, ASEAN+3 Summit
  • Other high-level and working-level trilateral mechanisms including the Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Economic and Trade Ministers’ Meeting, Culture Ministers’ Meeting, the Tripartite Health Ministers’ Meeting (THMM), and the Tripartite Environmental Ministers’ Meeting (TEMM)

Promoting trilateral cooperation / Cooperative projects

  • International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation (IFTC)
  • Trilateral Table Top Exercise (TTX) on Disaster Management
  • CJK FTA Seminar
  • Trilateral Business Networking Events
  • Trilateral Journalist Exchange Program
  • Young Ambassador Program
  • TCS Monthly Lectures
  • TCS Open House

Collaboration with other organizations

  • Maintaining relationship and expanding network with other regional and international organizations

Research and Publications[7]

  • TCS Annual Reports
  • Trilateral Statistics booklets
  • Other publications relating to political, economic and socio-cultural cooperation
  • Compilation of information database regarding trilateral cooperation

See also


  1. ^ Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat. “Overview of TCS”.
  2. ^ Shin, Hae-in (27 September 2011). “Trilateral secretariat officially opens in Seoul”. The Korea Herald. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  3. ^ “China-Japan-ROK Cooperation (1999-2012)”. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
  4. ^ Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat. “Agreement on the Establishment of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat” (PDF).
  5. ^ Aviles, Kay (27 September 2011). “Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat by Japan, China and South Korea Launched in Seoul”. International Business Times.
  6. ^ Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat. “TCS Functions and Activities”.
  7. ^ Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat. “TCS Research and Publications”.