The upcoming eighth annual meeting of leaders of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) provides an opportunity to promote trilateral relations and strengthen cooperation in various fields, officials and experts have said.
High-level visits and exchanges between Japan and China are of great significance, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, expecting that his upcoming China trip will serve as an opportunity to further consolidate bilateral relations.
He made the remarks in a written interview with Chinese media ahead of the meeting, which will take place in China's southwestern city of Chengdu on Tuesday.
He hopes that the meeting will summarize the trilateral cooperation that has made progress in a wide range of fields so far, and explore how to further strengthen trilateral cooperation in areas of common concern, including environmental protection, aging societies and personnel exchanges.
The three neighboring countries share various issues that are unique to them, which is why the three nations should take advantage of this opportunity to conduct candid discussions on issues of common concern, he said.
Closer cooperation among the three countries is conducive to fostering domestic demand in Asia and stabilizing Asian economies, said Jin Jianmin, a senior fellow at Fujitsu Research Institute in Tokyo.
In particular, the three countries will push for the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega trade pact, as scheduled in 2020 and work together to accelerate the Japan-China-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, sending a positive signal of upholding free trade with concrete actions and enhancing confidence in Asia and the world, he said.
The three countries plan to carry out cooperation in such constellations as "China-Japan-South Korea plus X," as well as in new areas of e-commerce and connectivity, he said.
The trilateral cooperation needs to keep pace with the times and strengthen its "depth" and "breadth" and further trilateral cooperation can also provide a platform to help maintain stability on the Korean peninsula, the expert said.
The leaders' meeting on further cooperation will have an impact not only within the region, but also on the global economy and stability of the international order, said Liu Di, professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Kyorin University in Tokyo.
How to strengthen and develop the trilateral relations and promote the relations in east Asia are an important task that requires the constant efforts of all parties, Liu said.
At present, China, Japan and the ROK all face the issue of how to transcend the traditional security concept and the three countries should enhance mutual trust through extensive exchanges in various fields and eventually form a strategic partnership in the region, he said.
China, Japan and the ROK also face the challenges of economic and social transformation, Liu said. They should strengthen cooperation in artificial intelligence, data utilization and new energy development and overcome development bottlenecks in the current economic and social transformation period, he said.
Makoto Taniguchi, former Japanese ambassador to the United Nations, said that with the continuous improvement of Japan-China relations, the two countries can strengthen cooperation, speed up negotiations on the China-Japan-ROK FTA and push forward the economic integration process in east Asia.
Taniguchi suggested that Japan can strengthen exchanges and cooperation with China in fields such as young talents, culture and environmental protection.
In terms of cultural exchanges, China, Japan and the ROK share the characteristic of seeking common ground while preserving differences, said Seiichi Kondo, former head of Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs.
He said that more mechanisms of the intangible cultural heritage exchanges like the "Culture City of East Asia" event jointly held by China, Japan and the ROK should be established.
Kondo said that at the third Japan-China-ROK Ministerial Conference on Culture held in Nara, Japan in 2011, the three countries reached a consensus to introduce the "culture city" mechanism. Each year, each country selects one city, and the "culture cities" publicize their traditions and contemporary cultures so as to promote personnel exchanges.
"Last year, the event reached a crescendo as Japan's Kyoto, China's Changsha and ROK's Daegu held various activities and exhibitions of traditional culture and modern art throughout the whole year," he said.