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Japan, China, S. Korea investment pact to take effect May 17

An investment pact involving Japan, China and South Korea aimed at promoting corporate investment will come into effect on May 17, the Foreign Ministry said Friday. The trilateral pact, the first such legal framework involving the three East Asian countries in the economic field, will take effect now that China has informed Japan that its internal procedures have been completed, according to a ministry official.

Ukraine crisis could unite US, EU: Germany's Schaeuble

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Friday portrayed the Ukraine crisis as an opportunity for the European Union and the United States to revamp their relationship after the fallout of the NSA spying scandal. "I am confident that the Ukraine crisis will help us to strengthen transatlantic ties and rediscover our common interests," Schaeuble said in a speech on the sidelines of the annual IMF/World Bank spring meetings. Moscow's "backslide into patterns from the previous century" has caused both sides of the Atlantic to move closer together, he said.

Berlin strikes conciliatory tone with Paris on economy

France's new finance minister travelled to Berlin Monday to defend budget plans to his German counterpart who was upbeat about Paris' efforts to tackle its budget deficit and spur growth. Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany's veteran finance minister, struck a conciliatory tone in a press conference with Michel Sapin but both said they had not addressed head-on the thorniest issue of France's public finances during their talks. "Germany needs a strong France," said Schaeuble, Chancellor Angela Merkel's fellow conservative champion of budgetary rigour.

Berlin strikes conciliatory tone with French on economy

France's new finance minister travelled to Berlin Monday to defend budget plans to his German counterpart who was upbeat about Paris' efforts to tackle its budget deficit and spur growth. Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany's veteran finance minister, struck a conciliatory tone in a press conference with Michel Sapin but both said they had not addressed head-on the thorniest issue of France's public finances during their talks. "Germany needs a strong France," said Schaeuble, Chancellor Angela Merkel's fellow conservative champion of budgetary rigour.

Japan, Australia set to ink free trade deal

Japan and Australia are set to announce a free trade deal at a summit of the nations' leaders later Monday, reports said, after similar talks with the US ran into trouble. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott were to announce a basic agreement on the long-awaited trade pact which follows years of talks, major Japanese newspapers including the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

Hagel warns against China's territorial assertiveness: AP

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Saturday that like Russia's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine, there is always a country which tries to change international boundaries by force, according to The Associated Press, a comment that could be taken as a warning of China's growing territorial assertiveness in Asia.

US seeks to reassure Japan amid Ukraine crisis fallout

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday vowed America would stand by its security commitments to Tokyo, after Russia's intervention in Ukraine raised concerns in a region plagued by its own territorial disputes. Hagel, on a two-day visit to Japan as part of a tour of Asia, said Russia's annexation of Crimea had sparked worries among allies in the Pacific and elsewhere.

US seeks to reassure Japan amid Ukraine crisis fallout

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday vowed America would stand by its security commitments to Tokyo, after Russia's intervention in Ukraine raised concerns in a region plagued by its own territorial disputes. Hagel, on a two-day visit to Japan as part of a tour of Asia, acknowledged Russia's annexation of Crimea had sparked worries among allies in the Pacific and elsewhere.

Indonesia military worries over Asia arms race, territorial tensions

By Kanupriya Kapoor and Jonathan Thatcher JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's military is concerned that a rebalancing of power in the Asia-Pacific is driving an arms race in the region and that increasingly tetchy territorial disputes could trigger conflict, its armed forces chief said. In an interview with Reuters, military commander Moeldoko did not single out China for criticism, but his comments are the latest from regional officials that suggest there are growing fears over China's assertiveness and military modernization.

S. Korea to closely monitor China's economic situations: finance minister

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's finance minister expressed worries Thursday over a possible growth slowdown in China, saying that the government will keep a close eye on economic situations in the world's No. 2 economy. "There is some chance that the Chinese economy might be losing its growth momentum," Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said at a meeting with other policymakers to discuss the latest external market conditions.
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