Posted December. 13, 2008 08:26,
Korea, China and Japan open today a three-way meeting in Fukuoka, Japan. It remains to be seen whether the three nations will let bygones be bygones and open a new era of mutual prosperity. Their leaders did hold a tripartite meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Plus Three Summit, which includes member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Korea, China and Japan. But todays meeting is the first independent one held by the three Northeast Asian countries.
Korea has maintained diplomatic ties with China for 16 years and Japan and China have preserved relations for 36 years. Based on mutual understanding, friendship, trade and cultural exchange they have accumulated, the three nations should open a new era of peace and mutual prosperity.
Over the past 50 years, the status of the three nations has significantly improved. Japan and China are members of Group of Eight leading industrialized nations and Korea is the worlds 13th largest economy. In foreign exchange reserves, China ranks first in the world and Japan second. Korea has the worlds sixth-largest foreign exchange reserves. If the three nations closely cooperate, they can deal with common issues including the economic crisis and strengthen their influence on the global stage. Since they signed currency swap deals a few days ago, they need to cooperate in more diverse sectors.
At the summit, the three nations plan to discuss the pursuit of a cooperative partnership. Due to globalization, bilateral relations are not enough to deal with mounting international issues. Given that, the three are heading in the right direction. For example, they have several common issues such as yellow dust originating from China and food hygiene, and must also cooperate to end North Koreas nuclear program.
Northeast Asia has envied Europes integration. Though the United Kingdom, France and Germany had fought a lot of wars in their shared history, they did manage to cooperate to integrate the continent. Korea, China and Japan should also learn from the three European nations and integrate not only Northeast Asia, but also all of Asia. This will depend on if the three nations can create a model for trustworthy mutual prosperity.
President Lee Myung-bak, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso should transcend their painful shared history and assure close cooperation for a better future.