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(LEAD) Regional powers guard against uneven economic recovery, downside risks

Economy 16:30 May 03, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from para 7)

SEOUL, May 3 (Yonhap) -- The top economic policymakers of South Korea, China and Japan called Monday for vigilance against uneven economic recovery across the countries and increased downside risks amid the pandemic.

The finance ministers and central bank governors of the three nations virtually held their annual trilateral meeting to discuss ways to promote economic cooperation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The financial chiefs said the economic outlook for the Northeast Asian countries has improved on the back of continued policy support and the vaccine rollout.

"However, we should remain vigilant as the economic recovery has been uneven across and within member economies, uncertain and subject to elevated downside risks," said a joint statement issued after the trilateral meeting.

This photo, provided by the Ministry of Economy and Finance on May 3, 2021, shows South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki attending an online trilateral meeting of the financial chiefs of South Korea, China and Japan. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The policymakers agreed to step up efforts to achieve inclusive economic recovery and promote long-term fiscal sustainability, it showed.

At the meeting, South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki called for close trilateral cooperation to fight climate change, restore a multilateral trade system and cope with low birthrates and rapid aging, according to Seoul's finance ministry.

The finance ministers and top central bankers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Three countries -- South Korea, China and Japan -- held a separate online meeting to discuss ways to accelerate economic recovery and bolster cooperation.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

The member countries stressed the need to mobilize available policy measures to cope with the fallout of the pandemic.

"We recognize that supportive and both targeted and comprehensive policies are still critical to overcoming the economic and health crises. We expect vaccine rollouts to play a key part in accelerating regional economic recovery," the financial chiefs said in a joint statement.

"We will gradually and carefully normalize expansionary policy measures while mitigating risks of cliff effects," it showed.

Next year's trilateral talks and the ASEAN+3 meetings will be held in Sri Lanka on the sidelines of the annual gathering of the Asian Development Bank.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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