May 9,China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday released a white paper titled China-Japan-ROK Cooperation (1999-2012) to review the history of trilateral friendly exchanges, showcase the achievements of trilateral practical cooperation and envision the broad prospects of tripartite relations.
Following is the full text of the document:
CHINA-JAPAN-ROK COOPERATION (1999-2012)
Table of Contents
I. Overview of the trilateral cooperation
II. Political and security affairs
1. Tripartite partnership
2. Policy consultations
3. Non-traditional security
4. Regional and international affairs
III. Economy, trade and finance cooperation
1. Trade and investment
3. Transport and logistics
4. Information and communications
5. Customs cooperation
6. Intellectual property rights
7. Standards and metrology
IV. Sustainable development
1. Circular economy
2. Science and technology
3. Environmental protection
5. Water Resources
V. Social and cultural exchanges
4. Personnel administration
6. Media, local government and people-to-people exchanges
China, Japan and the ROK are close neighbors, separated merely by a strip of waters. The three countries enjoy geographic proximity, cultural affinity and time-honored friendship. Since the beginning of the 21st century, exchanges and cooperation among China, Japan and the ROK have become more frequent and ever closer, delivering tangible benefits to the peoples of the three countries.
In 1999, the leaders of China, Japan and the ROK joined in a breakfast meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Plus Three (10+3) Summit in the Philippines, which marked the beginning of the trilateral cooperation process. In 2008, the leaders of the three countries met for the first time outside the 10+3 framework, taking trilateral cooperation into a new phase.
After more than ten years of development of the cooperation, the three countries have instituted an increasingly mature trilateral dialogue mechanism, steadily moved forward cooperation in various fields, and deepened mutual understanding and mutual trust. The three countries have established a future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership, conducted ever closer economic cooperation and vibrant people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and further enhanced communication and coordination in regional and international affairs. The trilateral cooperation not only provides an important platform for China, Japan and the ROK to enhance good-neighborliness and friendship and expand common interests, but also constitutes an important part of East Asia cooperation.
As the coordinator for this year's trilateral cooperation, China will host the Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting among China, Japan and the ROK. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, the China-Japan Year of Friendly Exchanges, the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the ROK, and the Year of China-ROK Friendly Exchanges. On this auspicious occasion, we publish this handbook to review the history of trilateral friendly exchanges, showcase the achievements of trilateral practical cooperation and envision the broad prospects of tripartite relations.
I. Overview of the trilateral cooperation
In November 1999, then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji, Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and ROK President Kim Daejong attended a breakfast meeting on the sidelines of the 10+3 Summit in the Philippines, which marked the beginning of the trilateral cooperation process. The leaders of the three countries decided to turn the trilateral meeting into a regular event in 2000, which was later replaced by an official trilateral leaders' meeting in 2002. Since then, the meetings have been held, in principle, back-to-back with the annual 10+3 Summit and the leaders have had 11 such meetings.
In December 2008, the leaders of the three countries met for the first time outside the 10+3 framework in Fukuoka, Japan, and decided to build a future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership. The three countries also decided to hold separate annual trilateral summit meetings on a rotating basis while keeping the mechanism of trilateral leaders' meeting in the sidelines of the 10+3 Summit.
In October 2009, the Second Trilateral Summit Meeting was held in Beijing to commemorate the 10th anniversary of trilateral cooperation. In May 2010, the Third Trilateral Summit Meeting was held in Jeju, the ROK, during which the leaders of the three countries shared their vision for trilateral cooperation in the next ten years. In May 2011, against the backdrop of the severe disasters in Japan, the leaders of the three countries attended the Fourth Trilateral Summit Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, and agreed to expand trilateral cooperation in earthquake, disaster management, nuclear safety and other fields. This year, China will host the Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting.
In 2002, the three countries identified economy and trade, information and communication industry, environmental protection, human resources development and culture as the five priority areas for trilateral cooperation. In 2007, six new areas, i.e. finance, science and technology, logistics, health, tourism and youth exchanges, were added to the list of cooperation priorities. China, Japan and the ROK are now carrying out practical cooperation in over 20 areas, covering the economic, social and other dimensions of the relations among them.
The main documents on China-Japan-ROK cooperation include the Joint Declaration on the Promotion of Tripartite Cooperation (2003), the Joint Press Statement of the Seventh Summit Meeting (2007), the Joint Statement for Tripartite Partnership (2008), the Joint Statement on the Tenth Anniversary of Trilateral Cooperation (2009), the Trilateral Cooperation VISION 2020 (2010) and the Declaration of the Fourth Trilateral Summit Meeting (2011).
After more than ten years of development of the cooperation, the three countries have established a full-fledged mechanism for cooperation, and formed an all-dimensional, multi-tiered and wide-ranging cooperation framework with the Trilateral Summit Meeting at its core, and supported by 18 ministerial meetings in areas like foreign policy, economy and trade, science and technology and culture and over 50 working-level mechanisms. In September 2011, the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) was established in Seoul with the aim of providing quality, efficient and professional services and support for trilateral cooperation. The achievements made over the past decade and more prove that stronger cooperation among China, Japan and the ROK serves the fundamental interests of the three countries and peoples, and contributes to peace, stability and prosperity of the region.
China attaches great importance to trilateral cooperation and plays an active part in the cooperation process. Chinese premiers have attended all the trilateral summit meetings. China has actively participated in and hosted a series of ministerial meetings, senior officials' meetings and director-general's (DG) meetings within the trilateral framework, initiated, hosted or participated in diverse forms of cooperation projects in a wide range of areas, facilitated the deepening of trilateral cooperation and promoted the institutional building of a more rule-based cooperation. China has played an important role in strengthening the foundation and upgrading the level of trilateral cooperation.
II. Political and security affairs
1. Tripartite partnership
During the First Trilateral Summit Meeting held in December 2008, the three countries proposed to launch future-oriented and comprehensive cooperation in the political, economic, social and cultural fields. In October 2009, the Second Trilateral Summit Meeting laid out the goal of building a future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership among the three countries. In May 2010, leaders of the three countries pledged at the Third Trilateral Summit Meeting to take trilateral cooperation to a new height to firm up the basis for the future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership. In May 2011, the three countries proposed at the Fourth Trilateral Summit Meeting to further strengthen their future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership.
Based on the agreement reached at the trilateral summit meetings, the three countries have, in recent years, strengthened high-level exchanges and strategic dialogue, conducted policy consultations, broadened non-traditional security cooperation, and expanded mutual understanding and common ground. The three countries have deepened mutually beneficial cooperation and advanced economic integration in such areas as economy, trade and investment, finance, transport and logistics, information and communications, customs, intellectual property, standards and metrology. The three countries have explored ways to enhance practical cooperation in circular economy, science and technology, environment, agriculture and water conservancy, and made joint efforts to promote sustainable development. The three countries have actively conducted people-to-people and cultural exchanges, expanded cooperation in culture, education, tourism, personnel administration and public health as well as cooperation among non-governmental institutions, and sought ways to boost the affinity among their peoples to build greater popular support for the development of relations among them.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of various departments of the three countries, the future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership is growing in both breadth and depth.
2. Policy consultations
Policy Dialogue on Asian Affairs
At the Fourth Trilateral Summit Meeting in May 2011, China put forward the proposal of holding a Trilateral Policy Dialogue on Asian Affairs, which was positively responded to and supported by Japan and the ROK. In March 2012, the First Trilateral Policy Dialogue on Asian Affairs was held in Beijing, during which senior officials of the three countries exchanged views on the situation in Asia as well as international and regional hotspot issues. The three countries shared the view that consultation on Asian policies and timely communication and coordination on Asian affairs could help them better understand each other's Asian policies and build up mutual trust. The three countries agreed to keep the momentum of consultation and continue to explore ways for enhancing communication and cooperation in Asian affairs.
Policy Dialogue on African Affairs
The leaders of China, Japan and the ROK reached the agreement to hold a Trilateral Policy Dialogue on African Affairs during their meeting in November 2007. The First Trilateral Director-General's Consultation on African Policies was held in Tokyo in December 2008, and four rounds of consultations have been held. The three countries conducted in-depth and fruitful exchange of views on their respective African policies, cooperation with African countries and hotspot issues in Africa. They shared the view that the Trilateral Policy Dialogue on African Affairs was helpful for enhancing trilateral communication and consultation on African affairs. They would continue to use this platform to expand mutual understanding and common ground on African affairs, and jointly promote peace, stability and development in Africa.
Consultation on Latin America affairs
In 2004, the Trilateral Cooperation Committee (foreign ministerial level) put forward the proposal of holding DG-level meetings on Latin American policies. In April 2006, the First Trilateral Director-General's Consultation on Latin American Affairs was held in Beijing, and five rounds of consultations have already been held. The three countries conducted communication and exchanges on the situation in Latin America, their respective Latin American policies and relations with Latin American countries, and explored the possibility of trilateral cooperation in Latin America. The consultations played an important role in expanding mutual understanding, promoting mutual learning and increasing mutual trust in Latin American affairs, and contributed to the growth of trilateral relations and their communication and cooperation in international affairs.
Given the growing strength and international influence of Latin American countries as a whole, China, Japan and the ROK will follow Latin American affairs more closely and further enhance cooperation with Latin America in the political, economic, trade, cultural and other fields. It is the common need and aspiration of the three countries to maintain exchanges on Latin American affairs, and they will continue to strengthen the consultation mechanism.
To implement the consensus reached at the Third Trilateral Summit Meeting in May 2010 for enhancing counter-terrorism cooperation, China, Japan and the ROK held the first Counter-Terrorism Consultation in Jeju, the ROK in March 2011. The three countries exchanged views on the international and regional counter-terrorism situation, anti-piracy, internet security and trilateral cooperation in specific areas. The three countries shared the view that they should further strengthen and improve the mechanism of trilateral counter-terrorism cooperation. They agreed to conduct in-depth exchange of views on international and regional counter-terrorism situation, major issues concerning counter-terrorism and their respective counter-terrorism policies, share information and coordinate actions on issues of each other's concerns. They also agreed to promote cooperation among counterpart departments as well as exchanges and dialogue among experts so as to facilitate substantive trilateral cooperation, safeguard common security interests and promote regional and world peace and stability. The three countries made the decision to conduct the Second Counter-Terrorism Consultation in Japan in 2012.
3. Non-traditional security
The three countries have paid great attention to and actively advanced disaster management cooperation to cope with frequent natural disasters. The First Trilateral Heads of Government Agency Meeting on Disaster Management among China, Japan and the ROK was held in October 2009. The meeting is held in rotation among the three countries every two years, and two meetings have already been held. The three countries have agreed to carry out close cooperation in the following areas: first, establish a mechanism for mutual visits and regular meetings, and gradually put in place a mechanism for joint visits to disaster-affected areas; second, strengthen information sharing, exchange information about the laws, regulations and policies for disaster management, share disaster information and research outcomes concerning mega-disaster risks, and jointly build a disaster risk prevention system; third, strengthen disaster reduction and relief capacity, carry out trilateral training of disaster management personnel, and build an effective mechanism for trilateral cooperation in on-site rescue and public protection; fourth, strengthen satellite-based disaster surveillance, and share geo-spatial data for disaster reduction. The three countries are now taking measures to implement these agreements.
In March 2011, Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear leak, which triggered wide public attention and outpour of support from the three countries and the international community at large. During the Fourth Trilateral Summit Meeting held in Tokyo later in May, the leaders of China and the ROK showed their sympathy to the Japanese people by paying special visits to the affected areas. Their visits demonstrated the good neighborly and friendly relations and mutual help among the three countries in times of difficulties, and greatly boosted the confidence and resolve of the Japanese government and people to overcome the massive disaster. This was spoken highly of in the international community.
This year, the three countries will hold the first table top exercise for disaster management coordinated by the TCS for the purpose of building up capability for joint disaster response. The three countries are now making preparations for the exercise.
Earthquake Disaster Mitigation
Trilateral cooperation on earthquake disaster management started in 2003. China Earthquake Administration, Japan Meteorological Agency and Korea Meteorological Administration held three tripartite meetings on earthquake disaster mitigation from 2004 to 2006. Since then, the meeting has been held every two years for five meetings in total, and the three countries have carried out cooperation within the trilateral meeting framework in a wide range of areas, including near-real-time exchange of earthquake and tsunami data, information processing technologies, severe earthquake studies and personnel exchange.
In October 2011, China, Japan and the ROK co-hosted the Seminar on East Asia Earthquake Studies in Beijing, which was participated by over 100 experts and scholars from 18 countries and regions including China, Japan, the ROK, Thailand, India and Mongolia, and five international organizations. The seminar adopted the Beijing Understanding and decided to launch a joint study on earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes in Northeast Asia.
To further advance trilateral cooperation on earthquake studies, China Earthquake Administration will host the Sixth Trilateral Meeting on Earthquake Disaster Mitigation in Beijing and start to implement the joint study project on earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes in Northeast Asia.
To facilitate Asian regional cooperation on nuclear safety, the three countries launched the mechanism of Top Regulators' Meeting (TRM) in 2008. The TRM is an annual event held in rotation among the nuclear safety regulators of the three countries, and four TRMs have been held.
During the Fourth TRM held in Tokyo in November 2011, the three countries signed the Cooperative Nuclear Safety Initiative, and agreed to play a leading role in regional and international cooperation by instituting a cooperation framework and taking collaborative actions. They also pledged to carry out cooperation in such areas as regional nuclear safety standards, regional emergency response mechanism and regulatory capacity. The signing of the initiative marked an important milestone in trilateral nuclear safety cooperation, and laid an important foundation for regional nuclear safety.
The TRM has provided a sound cooperation mechanism and information sharing platform for Asian countries in the field of nuclear safety regulation, and contributed to the promotion of nuclear safety in the region.
The law-enforcement departments of China, Japan and the ROK are also members of ASEAN Regional Forum and ASEAN Plus Three Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crimes and dialogue partners of the ASEAN Chiefs of Police (ASEANAPOL). The three countries have maintained good communication and cooperation in these mechanisms.
On the occasion of the 27th ASEANAPOL Conference in June 2007, the police forces of China, Japan and the ROK launched the mechanism of international cooperation chiefs' meeting, and held their first meeting. Through this mechanism, the three countries have exchanged views on ways to improve regional law-enforcement cooperation, enhance cooperation in combating transnational crimes and strengthen personnel training cooperation. In addition, the functional departments of the three countries have carried out cooperation in forensic science. The fire brigade's associations of the three countries have established a mechanism of consultative meetings to conduct regular consultations on the academic and technical issues concerning fire safety.
4. Regional and international affairs
China, Japan and the ROK have maintained close communication on the situation in Northeast Asia, made earnest endeavor to uphold peace and stability in Northeast Asia through dialogue and consultation, and carried out close cooperation with other parties to push forward the Six-Party Talks process.
Being important members of East Asia, China, Japan and the ROK have maintained good cooperation in the ASEAN+3, East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and other regional cooperation mechanisms. The three countries have provided strong support for ASEAN Community building and ASEAN's leading role in East Asia cooperation, and made earnest endeavor to facilitate the development of East Asia Free Trade Area and East Asian economic integration, and promote peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia.
Being major countries in the world, China, Japan and the ROK have maintained close communication and coordination in the UN, G20, APEC and other international organizations and platforms, and made joint efforts to deal with the international economic and financial crisis, food and energy security, climate change and other global challenges, and promote strong, sustainable and balanced world economic growth.
III. Economy, trade and finance cooperation
1. Trade and investment
China-Japan-ROK economic cooperation and trade have gained remarkable achievements. Trilateral trade increased by more than four times from US$130 billion in 1999 to US$690 billion in 2011. China has topped the trading partners' list of Japan and the ROK for many years, while Japan and the ROK rank the fourth and sixth place among China's trading partners respectively. Japan and the ROK have become important sources of foreign investment for China. By the end of 2011, direct investment from Japan and the ROK to China had amounted to US$80 billion and US$50 billion respectively.
Trilateral Economic and Trade Ministers' Meeting provides an important platform for advancing economic cooperation and trade among the three countries. The First Trilateral Economic and Trade Ministers' Meeting was held in Brunei in September 2002. The meeting, in principle, takes place every year. Since May 2010, the Trilateral Economic and Trade Ministers' Meeting has been held in rotation among the three countries. Eight Trilateral Economic and Trade Ministers' Meetings have been held to date. China will host the ninth meeting in May this year.
At the end of 2002, upon the Chinese proposal, the leaders of the three countries agreed to start the feasibility study on a China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Area. From 2003 to 2009, research institutions of the three countries conducted a comprehensive study on the impact of the free trade area on their respective industries and came up with a common policy proposal. The study showed that the establishment of a trilateral free trade area could remove trade barriers, expand intra-regional market, facilitate trilateral economic integration and promote mutual benefit among the three countries. In October 2009, a consensus was reached at the Trilateral Summit Meeting to launch as early as possible a joint study on China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Area among government officials, business and academic communities. In May 2010, the joint study on China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Area was officially launched. Through the concerted efforts of the three countries, the joint study group completed its work in December 2011, and issued a joint statement. The three countries are now consulting with each other for the early launch of negotiations for the free trade area.
In accordance with the Joint Declaration on the Promotion of Tripartite Cooperation (2003), the relevant government departments of the three countries conducted several rounds of studies and consultations for the conclusion of the Trilateral Investment Agreement starting from 2004, and launched negotiations for the investment agreement in 2007. The three countries have already conducted 13 rounds of negotiations, and reached consensus on the text of the investment agreement, which is expected to be officially signed soon.
The Yellow Sea Rim Economic and Technological Conference was officially launched in 2001. It is the only sub-regional cooperation mechanism involving the government, economic groups, companies, universities and research institutions of the three countries with the aim of developing proposals for cooperation in trade, investment, science and technology among relevant regions of the three countries. The conference is held annually in rotation among the three countries. The 12th conference will be held in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, China in September this year.
China-Japan-ROK Engineering Business Roundtable, which is attended by industrial organizations and enterprises on engineering contracting, aims to enhance trilateral exchanges and cooperation in engineering contracting and related fields. The first roundtable meeting was held in Tokyo in October 2011, and adopted a joint statement. The second roundtable meeting will be held in the latter half of 2012.
China-Japan-ROK Business Summit, which is co-sponsored by China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Nippon Keidanren and the Federation of Korean Industries, has been held in conjunction with the Trilateral Summit Meeting since 2009. At the end of each business summit held so far, a joint declaration was issued to offer the views and policy recommendations of the business community for the leaders of the three countries on the future development of trilateral cooperation. As a side event of the Trilateral Summit Meeting, the business summit aims to create a good atmosphere for the leaders' meeting and build a platform for dialogue and exchanges among the business communities of the three countries as well as between the business community and the government.
China, Japan and the ROK have maintained close financial cooperation. After several years of development, trilateral financial cooperation has gradually established itself as a key driver for regional financial cooperation in East Asia. The trilateral dialogue and cooperation on finance is centered around the finance ministers' meeting, and complemented by a number of supportive platforms, including finance ministry and central bank deputies' meetings, DG meetings, working-level meetings and seminars. The finance ministers of the three countries meet regularly every year (normally in conjunction with the 10+3 Finance Ministers' Meeting) to coordinate positions on specific initiatives for 10+3 financial cooperation and discuss financial issues of shared interest to the three countries. Finance ministry and central bank deputies, international department DGs and working-level officers of the three countries also meet on an ad hoc basis to discuss economic situation and regional financial cooperation, and make preparations for the annual finance ministers' meeting. Thanks to the commitment of the three countries, East Asian financial cooperation is making substantive headway with important progress in regional crisis support and prevention mechanism, Asian bond market and other areas. From 2012 onward, the Trilateral Finance Ministers' Meeting will be replaced by the Trilateral Finance Ministers and Central Bankers' Meeting.
Since 2011, in the face of the grave challenges to world economic recovery, the finance ministries of China, Japan and the ROK have further deepened coordination and collaboration. The three countries have coordinated positions within the framework of trilateral financial cooperation, mainly in the following areas: first, while improving the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) regional crisis support mechanism, encourage CMIM to pick up the function of crisis prevention; second, further promote the development of the Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI); third, facilitate the studies of future priorities for 10+3 financial cooperation. Progress has already been made in relevant studies.
Since 1996, the central bank governors of the three countries have met every year during their presence at international conferences. In December 2008, the central banks of the three countries issued a joint statement on the launch of annual Trilateral Central Bankers' Meeting, and three trilateral meetings have been held so far. The trilateral meetings have provided opportunities for the central bankers of the three countries to exchange views on their respective macroeconomic and financial situations, international and regional financial cooperation and other issues of common interest.
In addition, China, Japan and the ROK have maintained communication and cooperation in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and other international organizations as well as regional frameworks like the Executives' Meeting of East Asia and Pacific Central Banks (EMEAP).
3. Transport and logistics
At the First China-Japan-Korea Ministerial Conference on Maritime Transport and Logistics held in Seoul in September 2006, the three countries signed a joint statement, in which they decided to establish the mechanism of China-Japan-ROK Ministerial Conference on Maritime Transport and Logistics, and hold the meetings in rotation among the three countries every two years. The Ministerial Conference also adopted 12 concrete action plans, including sharing information, removing physical barriers, conducting joint technical studies and enhancing port cooperation, and each country took up four action plans.
The Second China-Japan-ROK Ministerial Conference on Maritime Transport and Logistics held in Okayama, Japan in May 2008 adopted an action plan for future work, and identified three major goals for trilateral cooperation in transport and logistics: creating a seamless logistics system, developing environment-friendly logistics, and achieving a balance between logistics security and efficiency . A decision was made at the second ministerial conference to expand the areas of cooperation into aviation logistics and change the name of the mechanism into China-Japan-ROK Ministerial Conference on Transport and Logistics starting from the third conference.
At the Third China-Japan-ROK Ministerial Conference on Transport and Logistics held in Chengdu, China in May 2010, a joint statement was signed, which put forward the initiative of building a Northeast Asia logistics information service network. The Service network, NEAL-NET, was officially launched during the China-Japan-ROK Transport and Logistics Development Forum in December 2010. The organization of NEAL-NET includes the steering committee, council and secretariat. The NEAL-NET secretariat is located in Hangzhou, China. The interface for logistics information sharing among the three countries is now fully functional. The pilot ports of the three countries, i.e., the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port of China, the Tokyo-Yokohama Port of Japan and the Busan Port of the ROK, are to share dynamic container vessel status information.
The Fourth Ministerial Conference will be held in Busan, the ROK in July 2012.
4. Information and communications
Information and communications is one of the priority areas for trilateral cooperation. In September 2002, the information and communications ministers of the three countries held their first formal meeting and issued a joint statement, in which they announced the launch of the ICT Ministers' Meeting mechanism. Five meetings have been held so far. The Fifth China-Japan-ROK ICT Ministers' Meeting in January 2011 confirmed that the three countries will strengthen policy exchanges and conduct exchanges and cooperation in the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, internet security, new-generation mobile communications and other areas. Within the framework of the Trilateral ICT Ministers' Meeting, the three countries have maintained sound exchanges and cooperation in such areas as third-generation and next-generation mobile communications, next-generation internet and RFID/sensor network, internet and information security, open-source software, telecommunications service policies and communications services for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
5. Customs cooperation
The Tripartite Customs Heads' Meeting, which was officially launched in 2007, has provided an important platform for the customs authorities of the three countries to strengthen coordination and cooperation in regional affairs. The customs heads of the three countries have already met four times so far. At the Fourth Customs Heads' Meeting held in November 2011, the revised Action Plan of the Tripartite Customs Cooperation was adopted, which mapped out trilateral customs cooperation for the future. The Trilateral Customs Heads' Meeting is supported by four working groups, i.e., working groups for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection, customs enforcement and intelligence, authorized economic operator (AEO) and customs procedures. The customs authorities of the three countries have carried out close and effective cooperation in the above areas as well as in human resources development.
In the area of IPR protection, the Customs Authorities of the three countries have adopted the IPR Action Plan (fake-zero project), and made progress in general and case information exchange, legislation and law enforcement practice sharing, public awareness campaign and cooperation with IPR holders. In the area of law enforcement cooperation, the three countries have concluded the Action Plan on Intelligence Exchange and Law Enforcement Cooperation, and improved the dissemination and utilization of intelligence and information for combating commercial fraud and drug trafficking in keeping with the provisions of the action plan, provided mutual support in case investigation, and carried out effective joint campaigns against transnational smuggling activities. The three countries will continue their consultations with a view to improving the efficiency and quality of intelligence and information exchange. In the area of AEO mutual recognition, the three countries have taken effective steps to advance cooperation in AEO mutual recognition. The customs authorities of China and the ROK have signed the Action Plan for AEO Mutual Recognition, which is expected to lead to the formation of the arrangement for AEO mutual recognition between China and the ROK in 2013. The customs authorities of China and Japan have also drafted the roadmap for AEO mutual recognition and are now in the process of comparing their respective AEO regimes. In the area of customs procedure harmonization, the three countries have adopted the Work Plan for the Improvement of Customs Procedures, and identified the priorities and goals of the customs procedure working group. In the area of human resources development, the General Administration of Customs of China has signed the Memorandums of Cooperation in Human Resource Development respectively with its counterparts in Japan and the ROK, laying a solid foundation for furthering their cooperation.
The customs authorities of the three countries have conducted in-depth exchange of views on regional trade security and facilitation, IPR protection, law-enforcement cooperation and human resources development within the Customs Heads' Meeting framework. This has not only contributed to the healthy growth of their own economies and regional economy, but also set a good example for customs cooperation in other parts of the world.
6. Intellectual property rights
In September 2001, the State Intellectual Protection Office of China (SIPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO) and Korean Industrial Property Office (KIPO) held the First Intellectual Property Rights Commissioners' Meeting in Tokyo, and launched the mechanism of Trilateral Policy Dialogue among SIPO, JPO and KIPO. In 2007, the roadmap for cooperation among the three agencies was adopted during the seventh IPR Commissioners' Meeting, which set out the medium and long-term goals for trilateral cooperation. In 2011, the roadmap for cooperation was updated at the 11th IPR Commissioners' Meeting, and the three agencies signed a joint statement on enhancing IPR cooperation, which marked the beginning of a new stage for trilateral IPR cooperation.
Since the establishment of the IPR Commissioners' Meeting mechanism, the intellectual property agencies of the three countries have carried out effective and practical cooperation in automation development, comparative patent review studies, professional training and institutional building, which have greatly boosted their respective IPR endeavors. In the meantime, the three agencies have also explored ways for furthering cooperation with ASEAN, exchanged views on other international IPR hotspot or focal issues, and made positive contribution to IPR cooperation in Asia and beyond.
7. Standards and metrology
The Northeast Asia Standards Cooperation Conference is a trilateral cooperation mechanism in the area of standards, launched upon the proposal of the Korean Standards Association. Starting from 2002, the annual conference has been hosted by China, Japan and the ROK on a rotating basis, and ten conferences had been held as of the end of 2011. In 2003 and 2008, the three countries also started holding concurrent China-Japan, China-ROK and Japan-ROK bilateral meetings respectively. The conference started as a non-governmental initiative with the government playing a supporting role. Through the platform provided by the conference, the three countries have improved the working mechanism of their cooperation in the area of standards. Currently, trilateral standards cooperation has completed the transition from a non-governmental initiative into a government-led program with public participation, which has enabled the three countries to participate in international and regional standards activities in a more substantive and effective way.
In order to implement the Joint Statement on Standards Cooperation issued during the Trilateral Summit Meeting in the ROK in May 2010, the standards regulatory authorities of the three countries signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing A Partnership Framework on Standards Cooperation in Japan in December 2010, and reached agreement on setting up a standing committee for trilateral standards cooperation to further improve the planning and coordination of cooperation. The 11th Northeast Asia Standards Cooperation Forum & 2012 CJK Standing Committee Meeting on Standards Cooperation was held in Chengdu, China in April 2012.
Since 2003, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China (AQSIQ) has strengthened cooperation and exchanges in metrology with its counterparts in Japan and the ROK on the basis of the China-Japan memorandum of understanding (MOU) on metrology cooperation and the China-ROK protocol for metrology cooperation. Trilateral seminars on metrology are held in the ROK, Japan and China on an annual basis.
The national metrology institutes of China, Japan and the ROK jointly initiated the Asian Collaboration on Certified Reference Materials (ACRM) program for the purpose of conducting joint studies and development of CRMs with reliable and traceable chemical measurement by combining each other's strengths and technology resources, and providing technological support for regional economic and scientific development. In August 2005, the three parties signed an MOU on Asian CRM collaboration. In October 2010, the MOU was signed for a second time. In May 2005, the three parties jointly published a metrology nomenclature of China, Japan and the ROK.
IV. Sustainable development
1. Circular economy
China-Japan-ROK circular economy model base is a priority project for trilateral cooperation in the area of sustainable development. China put forward the proposal for building the model base at the Second Trilateral Summit Meeting in 2009, and the Joint Statement on Sustainable Development issued at the summit pledged to explore the possibility of building model bases and make joint efforts to promote resource-conserving and environment-friendly industrial structure, growth pattern and consumption mode. The National Development and Reform Commission of China, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade and the ROK Ministry of Environment have established communication channels at the working level, and decided to choose a location for the model base in China.
2. Science and technology
Currently, trilateral cooperation in science and technology is mainly conducted through two mechanisms, the trilateral ministerial meeting and DG meeting on science and technology cooperation. The meetings are both held every two years in rotation among the three countries. The participants to the meetings include the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of the ROK. As of February 2012, the three parties had held two ministerial meetings and five DG meetings. The Third Trilateral Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology was held in Shanghai in April 2012, and the Sixth Director-General's Meeting will be held in China in 2013.
During the Second Trilateral Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology in 2009, the three parties launched a joint research program to support joint studies by scientists of the three countries. The program is co-sponsored by the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Japanese Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF). Up till now, the three parties have already jointly supported six programs in two phases, covering areas from sewage treatment, new materials and disaster prevention to climate change and energy-saving technologies. The three parties started soliciting projects for the third phase of the program in April 2012.
Also during the Second Trilateral Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology, the three parties launched a young scientists' exchange program, and agreed to hold a young scientists' seminar on a different theme every year in rotation among the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of the ROK. The first young scientists' seminar was held in Jeju, the ROK in May 2010, and the second seminar was held in Shanghai in April 2012.
In the Joint Statement on Strengthening Science and Innovation Cooperation and the Trilateral Cooperation VISION 2020 issued during the Third Trilateral Summit Meeting in May 2010, the three countries pledged to work hard in a concerted effort to raise the level of science and technology and innovation capacity in support of socio-economic development in the three countries, and jointly address regional and global issues. In order to advance trilateral cooperation on industrial technologies, upon the proposal of the ROK, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and the Ministry of Knowledge Economy of the ROK co-hosted the First Industrial Technology Cooperation Forum among China, Japan and the ROK in November 2010. The second trilateral Industrial Technology Cooperation Forum was held in China in October 2011, during which the three countries exchanged views on a broad range of issues concerning renewable energy cooperation.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of the ROK hosted the Korea-China-Japan Green Technology Forum in Jeju, the ROK in 2010, which was participated by representatives of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan. Later, upon the proposal of the ROK, the first green technology forum co-hosted by the three parties was held in Tokyo in March 2012.
During the Fourth Trilateral Summit Meeting in May 2011, China put forward the proposal for the establishment of a trilateral Innovation Alliance on Renewable Energy among the industry, academia and research institutions to build on the strengths and resources of the three countries for common progress in the area of renewable energy. The Ministry of Science and Technology of China has already introduced the concrete proposal for the development of the innovation alliance to Japan and the ROK.
3. Environmental protection
Environmental protection is one of the first and most fruitful areas of trilateral cooperation. The Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting is an important platform for the three countries to carry out dialogue on environment policies and promote regional sustainable development. Since the launch of the mechanism in 1999, 13 tripartite environment ministers meetings have been held in rotation among the three countries. A joint communique was issued at the end of each tripartite environment ministers meeting to capture the consensus reached by the three parties on important regional and global environmental issues.
The 11th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting held in June 2009 identified ten priority areas for environmental protection, i.e. environmental education, environmental awareness and public participation; climate change (synergy effect, low-carbon society, green growth, etc.); biodiversity conservation; dust and sandstorm; pollution control (air, water and marine environment, etc.); environment-friendly / 3R / sound resource recycle society; transboundary movement of electronic waste; sound management of chemicals; environmental governance in Northeast Asia; and environmental industries and technologies. In May 2010, a joint action plan for tripartite cooperation in environmental protection was adopted at the 12th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting. The ten priority areas and the joint action plan have provided important guidance for the three countries to carry out substantive cooperation.
Within the framework of the Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting, the environmental protection authorities of the three countries have conducted diverse and fruitful cooperation in the ten priority areas, including the establishment of the mechanism for jointly combating illegal transboundary movement of electronic waste, trilateral seminar on environmental education, trilateral training program on environmental education, environmental protection textbook for children of the three countries, trilateral joint research program on dust and sandstorm, trilateral seminar on green economy, trilateral seminar on 3R, trilateral seminar on photochemical oxides, trilateral chemical policy dialogue, joint study on Northeast Asia environmental governance, trilateral roundtable of environment protection industries, etc. Through these channels, the three countries have made continued progress in carrying out practical environmental protection cooperation at both policy and technical levels.
The scale and national conditions of agriculture as well as economic development levels of China, Japan and the ROK are different. Strengthening agricultural cooperation among them is not only helpful for promoting agricultural development of the three countries, but also conducive to improving the well-being of people in the three countries and maintaining food security of Asia and the world as a whole.
At the Second Trilateral Summit Meeting in 2009, leaders of the three countries reached the consensus to "explore a mechanism of tripartite agricultural cooperation". The First Trilateral Agriculture Ministers' Meeting was held in the ROK in April 2012. Chinese Agriculture Minister Han Changfu, ROK Minister Suh Kyu Yong for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Japanese Minister Michihiko Kano of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries led delegations to the meeting and had in-depth exchange of views on food security, disease prevention and control for animals and plants, the set-up of agricultural partnership and other global and regional hot-spot issues concerning agriculture or food. They also issued a joint communique. The success of the meeting marked significant improvement of the tripartite agricultural cooperation mechanism and the growing tripartite agricultural cooperation in depth and breath.
In August 2007, the Institute of Crop Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the National Institute of Crop Science of the Rural Development Administration of the ROK and the Institute of Crop Science of Japan signed a memorandum of understanding on scientific and technological cooperation with each other and decided to hold a China-Japan-ROK symposium on crop sciences alternately in the three countries. Since 2008, four symposiums have been held to promote and enhance tripartite exchanges in areas such as scientific research and industrial development of rice and soybean and to push forward tripartite exchanges of agricultural science and technology. The fifth symposium will be held in Beijing in 2012.
In October 2003, the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Development of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI) and the Japanese Policy Research Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (PRIMAFF) discussed together future tripartite cooperation in areas such as rural economy and trade of agricultural products and set up a forum for agricultural policy research in Northeast Asia which has now undergone development for eight years.
China, Japan and the ROK have common aspirations for promoting sustainable agricultural development, speeding up innovation of agricultural science and technology and transferring them into productivity. As the next step, the three countries will enhance strategic research on agricultural science and technology, and agree on cooperation projects through such ways as project match-making symposiums. The three countries will identify priority areas of cooperation on agricultural science and technology and engage in exchanges and cooperation on food security study, sustainable agricultural production and introduction of small agricultural machinery.
Fishery Science and Technology
Since 1990, the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, the Fisheries Research Agency of Japan and the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute of the ROK have jointly carried out academic exchanges among scientific and technical personnel and held a China-Japan-ROK symposium on fishery science and technology every year. By November 2011, 22 symposiums had been held, during which fishery experts from the three countries released more than 300 papers. The Symposium has played a positive role in promoting the scientific research and management in areas such as conservation of fishery resources and marine ecological and environmental protection of the three countries.
In June 2006, heads of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, the Fisheries Research Agency of Japan and the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute of the ROK signed an MOU in Busan, the ROK and decided to hold a trilateral meeting of heads of fisheries research institutes alternately every year to further develop their cooperative partnership. Up to now, five such meetings have been held.
The three countries have actively promoted the exchanges of fishery scientific and technical personnel under the mechanisms of China-Japan-ROK symposium on fishery science and technology and China-Japan-ROK meeting of heads of fisheries research institutes.
Within the framework of the MOU signed by the three countries, their competent institutions have had joint studies on the cooperation areas jointly identified by the three countries, and engaged in extensive cooperation in fields such as climate impact on fishery and the environment, the occurrence of giant jellyfish, and the easing of pressure on the large marine ecosystem of the Yellow Sea. As a result, a favorable atmosphere of win-win cooperation has been formed gradually, forcefully promoting the sustainable development of fishery science and technology of the three countries.
Against the backdrop of quickening global fishery integration and increasing demand for fishery scientific and technological development, China, Japan and the ROK should step up cooperation in the following areas: expand cooperation areas, continue with their joint studies in culture and stock enhancement in fishery, the impact of climate change on marine environment and resources, safety study of aquatic products, study on giant jellyfish, study on low-carbon society of energy conservation, study on the protection of coastal ecological system and resources and technologies of sustainable utilization, etc; enhance platform building, continue to improve the two mechanisms of China-Japan-ROK symposium on fishery science and technology and China-Japan-ROK meeting of heads of fisheries research institutes, explore the building of platforms such as bilateral or multi-lateral joint laboratories or testing sites and promote joint study projects.
5. Water resources
Due to the impact of global climate change, extreme weather has been frequent, leading to acute problems such as flooding, drought and water shortage. Such problems have become a common challenge to the Asia-Pacific and the whole world. China, Japan and the ROK all belong to the Northeast Asia region, and are friendly neighbors separated by only a strip of water. They enjoy extensive exchanges and sound cooperation in the field of water conservancy.
The Second Trilateral Summit Meeting in 2009 issued the Joint Statement on Sustainable Development which read "establish a mechanism for meeting of ministers responsible for water resources in due course, focusing on integrated river management and water resources management adapting to climate change". In March 2012, China, Japan and the ROK signed an memorandum of cooperation on the mechanism of ministerial meeting among the Ministry of Water Resources of the People's Republic of China, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Korea and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan in Marseille, France, in which they decided to hold "a ministerial meeting at least every three years", covering cooperation areas such as policy exchanges and dialogue, experience and information sharing, joint scientific research, capacity-building and release of common position paper. The signing of the memorandum of cooperation marked a new stage of tripartite cooperation in the field of water resources.
Prior to the inception of the mechanism of ministerial meeting of water resources, tripartite cooperation on water conservancy was carried out mainly under the mechanism of the World Water Forum. During the Fourth World Water Forum and the Ministerial Meeting held in Mexico in March 2006, the Ministry of Water Resources of China, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan and the then Ministry of Construction and Transportation of the ROK jointly hosted three sub-meetings on "flooding management", "river restoration in the monsoon areas of Asia" and "information system of water resources", and released a joint initiative of the sub-meetings of China, Japan and the ROK in the Fourth World Water Forum.
During the Fifth World Water Forum and the Ministerial Meeting held in Turkey in March 2009, the Ministry of Water Resources of China hosted a special sub-meeting on major natural disasters and risk management of water conservancy infrastructure. Japan and the ROK attended the special sub-meeting at invitation. Thanks to the coordination of the organizing committee of the Forum, the Ministry of Water Resources of China, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of the ROK and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan jointly hosted the Ministerial Roundtable Meeting on Water and Disasters. The three parties also signed a joint statement on water management cooperation and expressed their willingness to consider the signing of a memorandum of cooperation, engage in joint studies and hold the trilateral Ministerial Meeting of Water.
During the Sixth World Water Forum and the Ministerial Meeting held in France in March 2012, the three countries signed a memorandum of cooperation. The Ministry of Water Resources of China and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan jointly held the Ministerial Roundtable Meeting on Water and Disasters.
V. Social and cultural exchanges
Since the First Trilateral Culture Ministers' Meeting held in Nantong, China in 2007, the three countries had put in place a regular dialogue mechanism of cultural ministers, providing an important platform to constantly promote tripartite cultural exchanges and cooperation. Between 2007 and 2011, culture ministers of the three countries held three meetings, during which the Nantong Declaration, Jeju Declaration and Nara Declaration were adopted respectively in addition to other cooperation documents. They also reached consensus on major cooperation areas such as expanding and enhancing cultural and art exchanges, promoting tangible and intangible cultural heritage protection, boosting exchanges of the cultural industry and deepening tripartite culture exchanges of the youth. In May 2012, the Fourth Trilateral Culture Ministers' Meeting was held in Shanghai, during which the Shanghai Action Plan (2012-2014) was signed. There would also be the selection of "East Asia Capital of Culture" and joint hosting of events such as "East Asia Art Festivals".
The Trilateral Cultural Industry Forum alternately held by the Ministry of Culture of China, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the ROK and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan is an important cooperation project of the three countries in the field of cultural industry. The Forum was first held in China in 2002. Since the third forum, a meeting mechanism of vice ministers of the three countries has been created and was incorporated into a trilateral cooperation action strategy. Major cooperation projects under the Forum include investigation of the cultural markets of the three countries, information gathering of cultural industry exhibitions, policy dialogue and joint personnel training of the cultural industry and plans of academic exchanges.
In September 2009, the three countries signed the Busan Declaration during the Eighth China-Japan-ROK Cultural Industry Forum in Busan, the ROK and established a joint working group for trilateral cooperation in the cultural industry which served as the working organ of the Forum according to the Declaration. The establishment of the working group marked a new era of tripartite cooperation in the cultural industry and was a new attempt to set up an inter-governmental cooperation platform for international cultural industry.
In 2011, the three countries completed drafting the text of a trilateral memorandum of cooperation on the cultural industry, which identified cooperation areas such as exchanges among the educational, training and professional personnel, exploring the joint manufacturing of and investment in cultural products, mutual attendance in each other's international cultural industry exhibitions, and copyright protection of cultural products. This memorandum is a guideline for the three countries to gradually expand their cooperation in the cultural industry.
Since 1999, China has attached great importance and been committed to tripartite educational cooperation. In March 2006 and April 2007, China, Japan and the ROK held trilateral meetings for DGs of ministries of education in Seoul and Beijing respectively to discuss specific cooperation projects such as training high-end professionals, cooperation in scientific research, student exchange and language teaching.
In order to push forward exchanges and cooperation among their
universities, the three countries decided to jointly implement the "CAMPUS Asia" (Collective Action for Mobility Program of University Students) project, which aims at enhancing school competitiveness and nurturing the next generation of talent in Asia through multiple forms of exchange programs including mutual recognition of credits and student exchange. A trilateral committee for promoting exchange and cooperation among universities comprising of representatives from educational government agencies, universities, quality guarantee agencies and the business community of the three countries has held three successful meetings and reached consensus on the guidelines for the implementation of the "CAMPUS Asia" project, pilot projects and other specifics. The " CAMPUS Asia" pilot project was launched in November 2011. Student exchange formally started in April 2012. The pilot project will last three to five years.
At present, the educational government departments of the three countries are in close consultation in an effort to establish a tripartite mechanism of education ministers' meeting at an early date so as to further push forward trilateral educational cooperation.
Thanks to the exchange mechanism which mainly includes the Trilateral Meeting of Tourism Authorities, the tourism departments and the tourism industry of the three countries have engaged in close and practical cooperation at all levels.
In order to implement the Joint Declaration on the Promotion of Tripartite Cooperation issued in October 2003, the tourism departments of the three countries signed a memorandum of understanding on initiating China-Japan-ROK tourism cooperation and formulated plans to promote tripartite tourism cooperation and hosting tripartite meetings of tourism departments.
In 2006, the First Trilateral Meeting of Tourism Authorities was held in Hokkaido, Japan, during which a trilateral plan of tourism exchanges was adopted. It set the goal of expanding the scale of tripartite tourism exchanges from 12 million person times in 2005 to 17 million in 2010. This goal had been met on schedule. In 2010, the Fifth Trilateral Meeting of Tourism Authorities set a new goal of increasing the scale to 26 million in 2015.
At present, six trilateral meetings of tourism authorities have been held. The outcomes of the meetings have been released as declarations or joint statements.
An exchange mechanism for the tourism industry was added to the Trilateral Meeting of Tourism Authorities in 2007. The Symposium on Educational Travel launched in 2006 was incorporated into the framework of the Trilateral Meeting of Tourism Authorities and has been held by the three countries alternately. This symposium has become an effective platform to boost youth exchanges in education and tourism and actively promoted youth exchanges through tourism among the three countries. This year, the Seventh Symposium on Educational Travel will be held in Sichuan Province, China.
4. Personnel administration
In 2005, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China, the National Personnel Authority of Japan and the Civil Service Commission of the ROK (now the Ministry of Public Administration and Security) signed a trilateral memorandum of cooperation on personnel administration and set up a trilateral personnel policy network to carry out cooperation in personnel administration through information sharing and other forms such as alternately hosting exchanges of young civil servants, seminars and joint studies. In August 2010, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China hosted the Sixth Meeting of Heads of Personnel Authorities, during which the three parties renewed the trilateral memorandum of cooperation on personnel administration, which stipulated that the Meeting of Heads of Personnel Authorities and the DG Meeting be held once every two years instead of once a year. Over the past six years, the trilateral personnel policy network has grown into a mature cooperation mechanism.
In order to reduce the threat posed by infectious diseases to this region, the health ministries of the three countries signed in Geneva, Switzerland a trilateral cooperation letter of intent on joint response to the spread of influenza in May 2006. They identified addressing the spread of influenza as their priority cooperation area and used the opportunity to launch official tripartite cooperation in this field. In April 2007, following the initiative of the ROK, the health ministries of the three countries held the First Trilateral Health Ministers' Meeting in Seoul and put in place an annual dialogue mechanism. By the end of 2011, five such meetings had been held and three cooperation documents were signed, including a memorandum of cooperation for joint response to the spread of influenza, a memorandum of cooperation on food safety and an action plan for joint response to the spread of influenza.
With the inception of the mechanism of health ministers' meeting, China-Japan-ROK health cooperation has been gradually expanded from containing the spread of influenza to prevention and control of infectious diseases, food safety, health information and health emergencies response during natural disasters. The three countries held several trilateral food safety forums, forums on prevention and control of infectious and non-infectious diseases and engaged in cooperation in order to realize the Millennium Development Goals in the health-related fields in this region. In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami disaster of Japan in March 2011, the three countries agreed to enhance cooperation in post-disaster health emergencies and shared health-related experience in response to nuclear leaks.
6. Media, local government and people-to-people exchanges
Northeast Asia Trilateral Forum
In February 2006, following the initiative of the Joong Ang Daily of the ROK, the Xinhua News Agency of China, the Joong Ang Daily of the ROK and the Nikkei of Japan jointly launched the Northeast Asia Trilateral Forum. As a forum for eminent persons from the three countries, the Northeast Asia Trilateral Forum is aimed at promoting people-to-people exchanges and enhancing mutual understanding of the people of the three countries. Since February 2006, seven rounds of the Forum have been held alternately in the ROK, Japan and China. Ten eminent persons from the economic, cultural and academic communities of the three countries are invited to the Forum. Former Chinese Vice-Premier Qian Qichen and former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone used to be the heads of the Chinese and Japanese delegations respectively. The current heads of the delegations are former Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan, former ROK Prime Minister Lee Hong-ku and former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda respectively.
Since its launch, the Northeast Asia Trilateral Forum has played an active role in promoting friendship, deepening mutual understanding and expanding exchanges and cooperation among the peoples of the three countries. It has gradually grown into a high-level platform for regular exchanges among the three countries, drawing wide attention from the political, business, academic and press communities.
The People's Daily of China signed memorandums of cooperation with mainstream media agencies of Japan and the ROK. They have built relations of friendship and cooperation, conducted exchanges from time to time and co-hosted international meetings with some of the newspapers.
In September 2011, the People's Daily hosted in Changchun the first trilateral renowned journalists' roundtable dialogue with the theme of "China, Japan and ROK media giving strength to regional economic cooperation in Northeast Asia". Nearly 100 heads of media agencies and renowned journalists from the three countries attended the dialogue, which was the most representative tripartite media exchange since the establishment of the tripartite cooperation mechanism. It served to promote the exchanges and cooperation among the mainstream media of the three countries and enrich tripartite cooperation mechanisms. The dialogue will be held biannually.
The People's Daily has been hosting the 10+3 Media Cooperation Forum since 2007, inviting mainstream media organizations from Japan and the ROK to the Seminar. Four forums have been held since then, which had enhanced exchanges among the mainstream media of East Asia. The People's Daily hosted a trilateral culture forum together with Asahi Shimbun of Japan and Donga Ilbo of the ROK. The People's Daily also hosted several rounds of China-Japan culture forum and China-ROK culture forum with the above two agencies respectively, providing platforms for trilateral cultural and academic exchanges and promoting non-governmental cultural cooperation and exchanges.
Since 1999, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Governors Association of Korea and the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations of Japan have jointly hosted the China-Japan-ROK Friendship Cities Conference alternately in the three countries. Participants are representatives of cities of the three countries that have sister-city relations who engaged in discussions about sister-city cooperation and experience in city development. Up to now, 13 conferences have been held. After years of hard work, the Friendship Cities Conference has grown into a mechanism of exchanges and cooperation for local governments of the three countries and an important platform for them to share information and expand cooperation through the ties of sister cities. The 14th Conference will be held in Kunming, China from 30 July to 3 August 2012.
To date, there are 247 pairs of sister cities between China and Japan and 139 pairs between China and the ROK.
China-Japan-ROK youth exchanges mainly include the Trilateral Future Leaders Roundtable Meeting (formerly known as the "Trilateral Future Leaders Forum") and the Trilateral Youth Friendship Meeting.
In accordance with the Joint Declaration on the Promotion of Tripartite Cooperation, the Japan Foundation, the Korea foundation, and the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations jointly held two rounds of Trilateral Future Leaders Forum in 2002 and 2004 respectively. The All-China Youth Federation became the Chinese organizer of the Forum in 2006. To date, eight rounds of the Forum have been held. During the Forum, six representatives from each of the three countries (from the parliaments, governments, economic community, academics, press and youth organizations respectively) tour the three countries and have extensive discussions on the political, economic, cultural and social issues to boost mutual understanding, trust and friendship. In 2012, the Trilateral Future Leaders Forum was renamed as "Trilateral Future Leaders Roundtable Meeting", and events would be held in the three countries for the ninth roundtable.
In order to implement Premier Wen Jiabao's proposal of enhancing tripartite youth exchanges and mark the "China-Japan-ROK Year of Cultural Exchanges" in 2007, the All-China Youth Federation invited 100 youths from Japan and the ROK respectively in August 2007 to join 100 of their Chinese peers at the first trilateral friendly meeting of youth. This event was spoken highly of by both the Japanese and the ROK governments. After that, Japan and the ROK hosted the second and third Trilateral Youth Friendship Meeting respectively. Up till now, the event has been alternately held by the three countries for five rounds successfully.
Exchanges of Buddhism
Exchanges of Buddhism are an important part of tripartite non-governmental exchanges. In 1993, the then President of the Buddhist Association of China Zhao Puchu put forward the idea of the "Golden Bond" of Buddhism among China, Japan and the ROK, a concept that captures the past and future Buddhist relations of the three countries and was widely responded to and recognized by the Buddhist communities of Japan and the ROK. The three countries subsequently decided to convene a trilateral conference of friendly exchanges of Buddhism regularly. From 1995 to 1997, the first three rounds of the trilateral conference were held in China, the ROK and Japan respectively and declarations were released at the end of the conferences. The three countries sent thousand-member delegations to each meeting, making the conference the largest, most productive and substantive multilateral friendly exchange event in the Buddhist communities of the three countries.
As was proposed at the conference, the three countries set up a trilateral liaison committee for friendly exchanges of Buddhism to be in charge of implementing the resolutions of the conference. At the same time, the three countries also selected representative and authoritative persons to establish three window organizations in order to convene meetings of the liaison committee every year. The three window organizations are the Buddhist Association of China, the Association of Korean Buddhist Orders, and the Association of Japan-China-ROK Buddhist Exchanges of Japan. The meetings of the liaison committee have been institutionalized with one preparatory meeting in the spring and another in the autumn. In October 1998, the first trilateral meeting of friendly exchanges of Buddhism was held in Beijing. Up till now, 14 meetings have been held. In October 2012, the 15th Meeting will be held in Japan.
Apart from regular conferences, the friendly exchanges among the Buddhist communities of the three countries also include: exchange of visiting scholars and students to nurture talents; host conferences of academic exchanges and share Buddhist books and magazines to enhance information communication and sharing; organize pilgrimages to famous Buddhist sites; plant trees by Buddhists in their own country in every April to promote environmental protection; compile scriptures of Buddhism and publish them in the languages of the three countries; and exchange monks for practice and experience. By now, the exchange of monks for practice and experience between China and the ROK as well as between China and Japan has been held for five times respectively. In the autumn of 2012, delegations of monks from the ROK and Japan will come to China for practice and experience.
The world today is undergoing complex and profound changes, and global economic growth is still beset by many destabilizing factors and uncertainties. Asia enjoys a generally stable situation, with relatively good economic growth and rising status and influence in the international community. East Asia cooperation is thriving and regional economic integration is picking up speed. China, Japan and the ROK face both opportunities and challenges in promoting sustainable economic development.
China, Japan and the ROK together represent 74% and 22% of East Asian and world population, 90% and 20% of East Asian and world economy, and 70% and 20% of East Asian and world trade respectively. Further advancing trilateral cooperation not only contributes to the development of the three countries, but also helps promote East Asian integration and drives global economic growth.
China, Japan and the ROK have agreed that they will follow the principles of drawing lessons from history, be future-oriented, pursuing mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, promoting openness and transparency and respecting cultural differences in conducting trilateral cooperation, and make joint efforts to build a trilateral relationship featuring good-neighborliness, mutual trust, all-round cooperation, mutual benefit and common development, promote regional economic integration in East Asia, and contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia, Asia and beyond.
China will continue to approach and manage trilateral cooperation from a strategic perspective, and, on the basis of mutual trust, mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, expand and deepen cooperation with Japan and the ROK across the board so as to take trilateral cooperation to a new level. Looking forward, trilateral cooperation enjoys a broad prospect and enormous potential for further development.