East Asian countries need to strengthen "fundamental" cooperation so as to lay a solid foundation for building an East Asia community, said experts Sunday.
They made the remarks at the Beijing Conference of the Asian Pacific Group of the Trilateral Commission which draws nearly a hundred participants from home and abroad.
The "fundamental" cooperation includes community-oriented cooperation in the fields of environmental protection, energy, anti-terrorism, political system reform and human resource exploration, said Hitoshi Tanaka, a senior researcher of the JapanCenter for International Exchange.
He said the political systems of East Asia countries vary considerably in their structure. "If progress can be made in this kind of fundamental cooperation, the shared values of East Asian countries will come further closer," he noted.
It is an inevitable trend to build the East Asia Community, said Han Sung-Joo, former foreign minister of South Korea.
"Intensifying economic interdependence, growing need to cooperate and integrate among Asian countries dictate that East Asian countries get together and move toward a community." he said.
The East Asia Summit will be held in Malaysia in December, when ASEAN members and other participating countries such as China, India, Japan, South Korea, etc, will discuss specific issues on the building of East Asia community.
When meeting with participants of the conference Saturday, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan said the East Asia cooperation is an inevitable result of further advancement of economic globalization in the region. It is also a certain choice for ASEAN countries to seek common development.
He called for related countries to deepen East Asia cooperation by making full use of the existing mechanism, such as the ASEAN+3 (ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea) and ASEAN+1 (ASEAN and China).
He said the countries should support the leading role of the ASEAN, and meanwhile maintain the openness of East Asia cooperation to the outside world.
It is a very good idea to build the East Asia community, said Yuan Ming, associate dean of the School of International Studies of Beijing University. However, she noted, there is a long way to go before it is finally formed.
During the three-day conference, participants hold in-depth discussions on a wide range of topics such as the peaceful rise of China and the building of East Asia community.
The Trilateral Commission, founded in 1973, is an international research institute composed of 350 celebrities from political, business and academic circles of North American, European and the Asian-Pacific regions.
It is the first time that the Trilateral Commission holds its regional conference in China.
(Xinhua News Agency November 28, 2005)