Work Together for a Bright Future of Northeast Asia
Keynote Speech by Tang Jiaxuan at China-Japan-ROK Academic Forum
19 October 2011
On 19 October 2011, former State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan attended the China-Japan-ROK Academic Forum under the theme of "Toward a New Era of Peace and Common Prosperity in Northeast Asia" in Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea, and delivered a keynote speech titled "Work Together for a Bright Future of Northeast Asia". Here's the full text of the speech:
It is a great pleasure to join you, colleagues and friends from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), at this forum to exchange views on the important topic of peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia. I thank our host for the gracious invitation and thoughtful arrangements. Let me, first of all, extend warm congratulations on the establishment of the China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat. The successful launch of the Secretariat is of historic significance and marks a new stage of the development of the future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership between the three countries. To hold a forum under the theme of "Toward a New Era of Peace and Common Prosperity in Northeast Asia" is highly timely and relevant. I am confident that the Secretariat will contribute to the trilateral cooperation with its effective, efficient, and professional services. I wish this forum will be a successful and fruitful one.
As the second decade of the new century kicks off, the world continues to undergo major and profound changes. The international balance of power is moving towards relative equilibrium. World multipolarity, economic globalization and social informatization is deepening. The trend of peace, development and cooperation is gaining greater popularity.
At the same time, destabilizing factors and uncertainties in the international landscape are notably on the rise. The world is far from tranquil. The underlying effects of the international financial crisis have been further revealed, threatening the world economic recovery and causing massive social and political problems in many countries. The situation in West Asia and North Africa remains turbulent. Ten years after the 9 ·11 attacks, terrorism and extremism still loom large. Traditional and non-traditional security issues are interwoven, posing new challenges to the international community.
In a world of increasing interdependence, countries of the East or West, North or South, all live in a global village and belong to one community with a common destiny. In the face of increasing new problems and challenges, the international community needs more than ever to cooperate for win-win results and build and safeguard our beautiful common home.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In spite of the complex international situation, Asia continues to enjoy peace and stability on the whole and the East Asian integration process driven by 10+3 cooperation has accelerated. The gravity of the world economy is shifting at a faster pace with Asia increasingly becoming a major engine of global economic growth. In such a general context, Northeast Asia has shown a sound momentum of development on the whole since the beginning of this year.
Northeast Asia is playing an increasingly important role in the international landscape, drawing greater interest and input from the U.S., the EU, as well as India and other emerging economies. Countries in the region has maintained political stability and scored new economic and social progress. China has sustained stable and relatively fast economic development and made continued achievements in social programs and people's livelihood. The ROK has also maintained stable and relatively fast development. Japan is pressing ahead with its post-disaster reconstruction with its economy on track to stabilization. Mongolia is implementing its strategy of rejuvenating the country through vigorous development of the mining sector. Russia is taking active steps to develop its Far East region.
Active engagement among countries in Northeast Asia and frequent visits and meetings among their leaders have strengthened mutual understanding, promoted practical cooperation, and advanced their relations.
Regional cooperation in Northeast Asia has been flourishing. Sub-regional cooperation along the Tumen River and in the pan-Yellow Sea and the pan-Bohai Sea areas has been robust. The ROK, the DPRK and Russia are in active discussion on an agreement on cooperation concerning oil and gas pipelines. The cooperation between China, Japan and the ROK with its fruitful results has become a bright spot of regional cooperation.
The combined population of the three countries stands at 1.51 billion, accounting for 22.3% of the world's total. Their combined GDP amounts to US$12.5 trillion, taking up 90% of that of East Asia and about 17% of that of the world. The mutually beneficial cooperation among the three countries has been deepening since its launch in 1999. Trilateral trade volume grew from US$130 billion to around US$600 billion in 2010. China has become the largest trading partner of Japan and the ROK, and Japan and the ROK China's major sources of foreign investment. The joint research on the China-Japan-ROK free trade area is expected to be completed within this year. The number of visits among the three countries grew from 6.5 million to 17 million in 2010. It is no exaggeration to say that China, Japan and the ROK have truly become a community of shared interests.
There is no denying that peace and development in Northeast Asia still faces many difficulties and obstacles. Relevant countries need to strengthen political mutual trust and address historical problems, conflicts of interests, ideological differences, and lack of friendly sentiments between their peoples, which cause disturbances and harm to their relationships and cooperation from time to time. Confronted with these difficulties and obstacles, relevant countries should bear in mind the overall interests and properly handle and unswervingly work for good neighborliness, mutual trust, comprehensive cooperation, mutual benefit, and common development in Northeast Asia in the spirit of drawing lessons from history and looking ahead to the future.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Positive changes are emerging in the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK now attaches more importance to developing its economy and improving its people's livelihood and seeks to engage with the outside world. It has stated on several occasions that it is committed to denuclearization on the Peninsula and is willing to return to the Six-Party Talks unconditionally. Relevant parties have also made positive comments on the Six-Party Talks. The international seminar to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the 9·19 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks was successfully held in Beijing not long ago. The ROK and the U.S. had useful contacts and dialogues with the DPRK and started to provide humanitarian assistance to the DPRK.
We should also be aware that the situation on the Korean Peninsula remains complex, fragile and sensitive. The Korean Peninsula remains the sole remnant of the Cold War in the world. It is still beset with the cold-war mentality and lack of mutual trust, which has seriously undermined and restrained peace, stability and development of the Peninsula and Northeast Asia.
To realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and uphold regional peace and stability serves the shared interests and aspirations of the people of Northeast Asia. Countries in the region must genuinely embrace peaceful coexistence if they are to pursue deep and long-term cooperation and promote regional development and prosperity. The volatile situation on the Peninsula featuring the alternation of reconciliation and confrontation shows that when all parties are actively engaged in dialogue, the region moves towards stability; when the dialogue stagnates, the region becomes volatile. The people of the ROK and the DPRK are brothers and sisters of the same blood. They should be forward-looking and try to solve their disputes in a proper way. No knot cannot be untied and no barrier cannot be overcome if parties concerned are firmly committed to dialogue and consultation. Past experiences show that the Six-Party Talks is not only the effective platform for promoting the denuclearization of the Peninsula and the normalization of the relations between relevant parties and achieving durable peace and stability in Northeast Asia, but also the golden key to peace and common prosperity of the region. Parties concerned should recognize the positive changes of other parties, seize the rare opportunities, bring out their respective strengths, take active measures, and move towards each other in an effort to resume the Six-Party Talks at an early date.
Connected with the Korean Peninsula by mountains and rivers, China has been committed to safeguarding regional peace and stability and played its unique constructive role. As the chair of the Six-Party Talks, China actively promotes the mutual trust and relations between all parties and seeks to solve all kinds of issues, including the denuclearization issue, through dialogue and consultation. China stands ready to work with the ROK, Japan and other parties to strengthen communication and cooperation, deepen mutual understanding and trust, reduce problems and disputes, and advance the process of the Six-Party Talks, so as to safeguard peace and stability of the region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Northeast Asia is at a crucial juncture as it seeks to usher in a new era of peaceful development and common prosperity. China, Japan and the ROK shoulder important responsibilities for peace, stability and development of Northeast Asia and the world at large. Our three countries should adopt an approach that is grounded in the reality of the region and the world to ensure sound development at home and promote regional cooperation with more concrete steps for growth and prosperity. To this end, we need to make the following efforts:
First, we should forge closer high-level exchanges, strengthen strategic mutual trust and work together to promote regional integration. Leaders should have more exchange of visits, contacts and communication, keep to the general goal of peace, friendship and cooperation and make good plans for it from a strategic perspective, so as to deepen mutual trust, dispel misgivings, and seek mutual benefit. We should vigorously explore and advance our trilateral cooperation, and push forward the East Asian integration more actively. We should keep our cooperation open and attach importance to communication and cooperation with countries outside the region. We should support the development of the ASEAN Community, actively participate in the 10+3 cooperation, facilitate the role of the East Asia Summit as a strategic forum, and give full play to the strengths of the various cooperation mechanisms in East Asia for mutual complementarity and reinforcement. We should draw upon the experience and lessons of the European integration to ensure steady advancement of the East Asian integration.
Second, we should abandon the cold-war mentality, strengthen dialogue and consultation and jointly uphold regional security and stability. China advocates the new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination, and stands for multilateral cooperation to safeguard common security. China remains committed to the path of peaceful development. All parties should strive to build mutual trust, forge close cooperation, and respect and accommodate each other's security concerns. We should seek common ground while shelving differences, pursue peaceful coexistence, and resolve problems and disputes through negotiations, dialogue and friendly consultation. We should seek peace, safeguard security, resolve disputes and promote harmony through cooperation.
Third, we should strengthen connectivity, deepen economic and trade ties, and work for the development and prosperity of the region. In the face of the major challenges and far-reaching impact of the international financial crisis, we should join hands to tide over the difficulties. We should strengthen dialogue and consultation on macro-economic policies, deepen the economic ties and expand the convergence of interests between economies in Northeast Asia and those beyond the region by opening wider to each other and enhancing connectivity. We should speed up the development of the China-ROK, China-Japan and China-Japan-ROK free trade areas, so as to realize the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment in Northeast Asia. We should strengthen cooperation in such emerging areas and industries as circular economy, energy conservation, environmental protection and new materials, to give a strong boost to the green economy and push for a new round of economic growth in the region.
Fourth, we should expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges, cement the friendship between our peoples so as to consolidate public support for our good-neighborly relations. While strengthening exchanges with all countries, we should give full play to the advantages of cultural similarity and emotional bonds between countries in Northeast Asia. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the ROK. We should take it as an opportunity to expand our exchanges in tourism, culture, education, health, sports, media and youth, take effective steps to encourage people-to-people exchanges, so as to enhance popular support and build a "community of friendship".
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China, Japan and the ROK all belong to Northeast Asia. In the long course of history, the Chinese, Korean and Japanese cultures have influenced and integrated with each other, jointly creating the flourishing and splendid oriental civilization. Today, it is the common choice and cause of our three countries to build a peaceful, stable and prosperous Northeast Asia. I believe that with unity and sincerity and unremitting joint efforts of the three countries, we will soon embrace a new era of peace and common prosperity in Northeast Asia.