We want to see the multilayered cooperative ties among three major Asian nations – Japan, China and South Korea – continue to advance.
The foreign ministers of the three nations met in Tokyo on Saturday and agreed that a summit meeting of their leaders should be held in Japan in September.
Summit meetings of Japanese, Chinese and South Korean leaders have so far been held on the sidelines of conferences of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It will be first time that the three leaders have held a summit independently.
Japan's bilateral relationships with China and South Korea, which have been soured by such issues as former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine, have steadily been improving. Now is an ideal time to expand the scope of cooperation among Japan, China and South Korea.
The Japan-China-South Korea summit was launched in 1999 as an informal breakfast meeting in Manila, with the agenda of the summit centered on economic issues.
Since then, it has been made a regular meeting, with political issues added to the agenda. With the framework of cooperation among the three nations expanded, the three-nation forum now has 12 kinds of ministerial meetings on issues related to trade, financial policy, health, energy, environment, and science and technology. If meetings of administrative vice-ministers and bureau chiefs are included, the number of such meetings reaches more than 40.
The framework of talks among Japan, South Korea and the United States or Japan, Australia and the United States are based on the alliance's relationship with Washington and dedicated to political and security issues.
For Japan, no trilateral relationship has more wide-ranging areas for cooperation than the Japan-China-South Korea relationship.
There are many issues that could better be handled through trilateral cooperative mechanisms rather than bilateral ones, such as dealing with the emergence of new types of influenza, seaborne garbage that reaches the shores of the three nations as well as securing fishing resources.
If the three nations can deepen their relationship of trust, it will certainly have a favorable effect on the respective bilateral relationships.
At the foreign ministerial talks, Japan, China and South Korea affirmed that they will cooperate closely on North Korea's nuclear issues, policies toward Africa and disaster countermeasures.
Japan must seek deeper understanding and cooperation from both China and South Korea over that issue, in addition to support from the US.
(China Daily June 17, 2008)