TOKYO, May 3 (Reuters) - Finance ministers and central bank governors from China, Japan and South Korea on Monday (May 3) vowed "targeted" measures for those countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and committed to foster fiscal and financial stability.

In a joint statement issued after a virtual meeting held on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) annual meetings, the ministers pledged to achieve inclusive recovery, preserve long-term fiscal sustainability and maintain financial stability.

Responses to the coronavirus crisis, universal health coverage, climate change, high-quality infrastructure and debt transparency and sustainability in emerging Asia are expected to top the agenda at the ADB gatherings.

"The regional outlook has improved, with continued policy support and growing vaccine coverage," the financial leaders from the three countries said in a statement.

"However, we should remain vigilant as the economic recovery has been uneven across and within member economies, uncertain and subject to elevated downside risks."

The three Asian economic powerhouses also said they will explore new initiatives to strengthen the ASEAN Plus Three regional financial safety net at the virtual meeting on Monday with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

At their last virtual meeting in September, the financial chiefs from Japan, South Korea, China and ASEAN – a group known as ASEAN Plus Three – promised to boost the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM).

The CMIM plays a crucial role in supporting regional financial stability by allowing the member economies, which include the ASEAN Plus Three and Hong Kong, to tap currency swap lines to secure currencies in need.

On Monday, the three parties cited the rising need to respond to the structural challenges and their profound implications to regional economic and financial stability.

They also underscored their commitment to backing open and rules-based multilateral trade and investment in the region.