For nine years in a row, former leaders of China, Japan and South Korea try to set aside their differences for a few days to discuss matters of mutual interest. The annual event is called the Northeast Asia Trilateral Forum and this year’s event was held in Yangzhou City in China.
With Japan in the hot seat, having tensions both with China and South Korea separately, the ex-leaders have taken the two-day meeting to address the issue of mutual distrust and come up with activities to counter that. China was represented by former Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan, South Korea by ex-Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo and Japan by former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in the summit. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao welcomed the participants and placed an emphasis on the importance of the trilateral relations in his opening speech. “The whole world is watching Northeast Asia, not only for its economic progress, but also for its geopolitical vulnerability. We must find a way to focus on the long-term goal of Asian integration,” he said.
Liu encouraged the leaders to look past historical differences and put more focus on a trilateral free trade agreement, which will benefit not just Asia, but the whole world as well. The event was co-sponsored by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Japan’s Nikkei and South Korea’s JongAng Ilbo. Nikkei Chairma Yasuo Hirata described the forum as “the ideal opportunity for wise men to discuss solutions.”
[via Nikkei Asian Review]