North Korea omitted from accord

BEIJING - The leaders of Japan, China and South Korea released a joint declaration Monday, a day after their summit talks, but the document did not incorporate any explicit reference to North Korea's failed missile launch, as the three countries could not agree on the issue.

The Joint Declaration on Enhancement of Trilateral Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership was initially scheduled to be released Sunday, when Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak held a summit in Beijing.

The joint declaration stipulates the terms of agreement for 50 items in five fields, such as "enhancing mutual political trust" and "strengthening economic and trade cooperation."

The document expresses the three countries' commitment to "realizing a peaceful, stable and prosperous East Asia."

However, the declaration does not include a condemnation of North Korea's failed launch of a long-range ballistic missile last month, or urge the country to refrain from carrying out a new nuclear test.

The joint declaration thus indicates a lack of unity among the three leaders, although they had reportedly agreed during talks that they could not accept North Korea's provocative actions.

"The international community must unite to show North Korea its firm commitment" to preventing further provocations by the country, Noda reportedly told his Chinese and South Korean counterparts during the meeting Sunday.

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