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Wang Yi: China-Japan-ROK Cooperation Needs to Repack Its Gear and Start Again
2023-07-03 18:30

On July 3, 2023, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi met with the main guests attending the International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation (IFTC) 2023 in Qingdao.

Wang Yi said that this is the first time the forum has resumed offline since the outbreak of COVID-19. The three countries need to send a clear signal that China-Japan-ROK cooperation will repack its gear and start again from Qingdao. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to the world in the past three years, but the fact that has not changed and will never change is that China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) remain close neighbors facing each other across the sea and enjoying geographic proximity and close cultural links; the three countries are inseparable partners with strong economic complementarity and highly integrated industrial and supply chains; the people of the three countries have been in constant contact with each other since ancient times.

Wang Yi said last year marked the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the ROK. China and Japan transcended differences in social system and ideology, and China and the ROK successfully emerged from the shadow of the Cold War. The experience and wisdom of these three countries still deserve ourr attention and reference today. The most basic rule is to learn lessons from history and look into the future. To blaze a new path, the three countries must first know the path they have traveled in the past. The most valuable inspiration is to give play to the strength of the people, promote official relations among countries through people-to-people exchange, achieve political ends through economic means and promote the interactions of central governments through sub-national exchanges. These beneficial practices are still of great practical significance today. The most important inspiration is China-Japan-ROK cooperation will benefit not only the three countries, but also Asia and the world.

Wang Yi said that since the launch of China-Japan-ROK cooperation more than 20 years ago, a mature sub-regional cooperation mechanism has been formed. The Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat of China, Japan and the ROK, as an important "propeller", should promote bilateral cooperation through multilateral cooperation, and play a constructive role in restoring normal trilateral cooperation and improving and developing trilateral relations.

Former Speaker of the National Assembly of the ROK Kang Chang-Hee and Lead Economist of Japan Center for Economic Research Atsushi IJUIN, among others, expressed their readiness to further deepen communication and exchanges with China, speed up the resumption of cooperation in various fields under the China-Japan-ROK cooperation mechanism, and enhance strategic communication, economic and trade connectivity and people-to-people bonds. They expect the Qingdao Forum to be a watershed for improving trilateral relations.

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