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2008年12月16日 (火)

社説:日中韓首脳会議 東アジアの軸がやっと動いた

(Mainichi Japan) December 15, 2008

Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing agree on vision, responsibility for East Asia region

社説:日中韓首脳会議 東アジアの軸がやっと動いた

The leaders of Japan, China and South Korea recently gathered in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, and issued a joint statement on the promotion of trilateral cooperation. The leaders agreed to make trilateral summits a regular event, deciding to hold the next one in China in 2009.


It was the first time for the leaders of the three countries to gather independently in one place in such a form. In fact, it is unnatural that, while being neighbors, the countries had never held such a summit in the past. It is hoped that the trilateral summit will function as the axis of a stability system in East Asia, overcoming such hurdles as differences in political systems and territorial and history awareness issues.


Since 1999, when then Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji and then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung gathered in a breakfast meeting at the ASEAN summit, meetings between the leaders of Japan, China and South Korea have been held every year, with the exception of 2005. This time was the ninth meeting, but the first time such a meeting was held separate from any international conference.


The joint declaration on a trilateral partnership signed by Prime Minister Taro Aso, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, said that they shared a "vision and responsibility for creating a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future for the region and the international community." The handling of the global financial crisis and a response to the North Korean nuclear issue are pressing issues faced by the three countries in order to fulfill that responsibility.


As a response to the global financial crisis, the three leaders confirmed that they would strengthen regional cooperation, while welcoming the fact that their governments agreed to expand the size of bilateral currency swap agreements between Japan, South Korea and China in order to support South Korea, which is struggling due to the depreciation of its currency.


The combined gross domestic products of Japan, China and South Korea exceeds 16 percent of the world total, and accounts for 70 percent of the figure for all of East Asia. Considering the immensity of this economic power, the strengthening of collaboration among the financial authorities of the three countries is vital. The fact that regular meetings are to be convened among the governors of the central banks of the three countries should be applauded.


The six-party talks ended without producing results on the North Korean nuclear issue, but the three leaders confirmed that they would collaborate over this issue in the future. In order to make a breakthrough in the stalled six-party talks, there needs to be a greater extent of coordination among Japan, the United States and South Korea, and leadership from China, as chair of the talks. The cooperation between Japan, China and South Korea that the countries' three leaders agreed upon this time should be used in policies toward North Korea.


Between Japan and China, light remains to be shed on a poisoning incident involving Chinese-made frozen dumplings. In addition, Chinese survey vessels made an intrusion into Japanese waters off the Senkaku Islands earlier this month.


The fact that over 70 percent of people in a Cabinet Office opinion poll took a negative view of relations between Japan and China is probably not unrelated to such events. The trilateral summit that will be held regularly should provide an opportunity for the leaders to talk frankly about such bilateral issues.


毎日新聞 20081214日 東京朝刊


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