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China, ROK, Japan celebrate 15 years trilateral partnership

By Wang Zhen

There was a conference at Changchun, Jilin province, where diplomats, businessmen, scholars working on China-ROK-Japan relations from the three countries got together to celebrate the 15th anniversary of trilateral partnership and to discuss the latest developments in inter-governmental diplomacy, on Dec 23.

Mr. Wang Zhongyu, the former vice-chairman of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), briefed the gathering that “China-ROK-Japan cooperative partnership initiated by then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji, former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung along with then Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in 1999.”

Wang went on to summarize the achievements of the cooperative partnership, “The economic integration of the three economies accelerates with a trilateral investment treaty having taken effective.”

The trade volume of the three countries in 2013 reached $633.5 billion, a five times larger than that of 15 years ago, according to the former vice-chairman of CPPCC.

Sang-gi Chung, former ambassador for Northeast Asia Cooperation of South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, viewed that people-to-people communication is vital. He gave an illustration of a comprehensive trilateral relations, saying, and “public diplomacy incorporates state-to-state relations.”

Chung called for trilateral cooperation to handle non-traditional security issues including natural disasters and environmental deterioration.

In referring to the possible challenges that three countries are facing, Satsuki Eda, former speaker of Japan's House of Councilors encouraged Japan, China and South Korean to work together on the issues concerning aging population, environmental protection and energy resources.

Many forum participants also discussed some topics on the establishment of a Northeast Asia community, building up trust and understanding as well as nurturing a Northeast Asia identity at the conference.

The conference was hosted by China Foreign Affairs University and Changchun-based China-ROK-Japan research center.