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China Daily Website

Resume dialogue for the East Asia FTA

Updated: 2013-01-28 22:06
( chinadaily.com.cn)

Resuming the negotiations on a Free-trade Area of East Asia can be acceptable for the three countries of China, South Korea and Japan, says an article of the 21st Century Business Herald. Excerpts:

The territorial sovereignty disputes among the three countries in East Asia have frozen Japan's bilateral ties with China and South Korea and seriously affected regional trade. That the negotiation of the East Asia FTA has also been suspended indicates that the stability of economic relations among the three countries rests with sound political relations in the region.

The visits paid by special envoys of South Korea and Japan to Beijing recently are very meaningful to the resumption of the negotiation of a East Asia FTA.

Domestic agendas and politics in the three countries play a major role in deciding their foreign policies. The voices of cooperation should be encouraged to not only off set negative influences, but also appeal to the politicians to take pragmatic steps to inject positive energy into bilateral relations. The sovereignty issues are mostly historical issues, which cannot be solved quickly or easily. These issues have been there for a long time. Right-wing activists in Japan have recently started exploiting these old issues, and they have become obstacles for the three countries to maintain stable foreign relations.

The politicians concerned should be aware that these issues should not become obstacles for these three countries to deepen their mutual trust and cooperation. The negative voices should be muffled for the sake of the national interest of the three countries.

The United States should play a more constructive role in promoting regional peace and stability in East Asia.

The three countries have a population of more than 1.5 billion, 25 percent of the world's total and more than $150 trillion of GDP, 20 percent of the world total. The successful FTA in Europe, America and Southeast Asia should serve as good examples for the three countries in East Asia.

Many countries that are part of the three successful FTA's have diplomatic issues with each another. But these problems have not affected their economic and trade cooperation as much as they do in East Asia.

China, South Korea and Japan have been good trade partners for a long time. Modern politicians should have the vision and wisdom to establish the FTA in the region.