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The trade ministers of South Korea, China and Japan agreed Saturday that the three countries should begin talks this year to reach a free-trade agreement. During a summit meeting Sunday in Beijing, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda signed an investment agreement in their first step toward reaching a free-trade pact, Bloomberg reports. According to the Associated Press, the three leaders also agreed to work together to minimize tensions on the Korean peninsula. Of course, North Korea’s exclusion from these annual Northeast Asian summit meetings speaks volumes.