Finance ministers and central bankers from China, Japan and South Korea agreed on Friday to redouble their efforts to help the region recover economically from the novel coronavirus while vowing to defend the multilateral trade and investment system.
"China, Japan and Korea are committed to enhance our cooperation and communication with each other as well as ASEAN countries to work towards fast economic recovery in our region," they said in a joint statement after a teleconference, referring to the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations.
"While remaining vigilant to the future uncertainties ... (we) affirm the importance of maintaining an open and rule-based multilateral trade and investment system," they said.
The annual meeting comes after the coronavirus triggered deep downturns in regional economies, disrupting global trade and supply chains, and heightening market volatility in Asia and beyond.
Highlighting worries about risks of a hit to market liquidity, Japan and Malaysia signed a bilateral currency swap arrangement that enables authorities to swap up to $3 billion of their currencies.
The financial leaders also promised to help boost Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), a web of multilateral currency-swap arrangements deemed crucial to the region's financial safety-net.
"We expect the CMIM ... to be further strengthened to assist the regional economies dealing with various crisis situations including pandemics," they said.