Break the ice with summits

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Break the ice with summits

Yasuhiro Nakasone, the former Japanese premier, proposed holding regular summit meetings between Korea, China and Japan as soon as possible at the Korea-China-Japan forum sponsored jointly by Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo, China’s Xinhua and Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
We support his proposal. Cooperation among the three nations is essential to cross the wall of distrust and make Northeast Asia a peaceful region of prosperity during a transitional period of world history.
The heads of the three countries should show vision and leadership through regular summit meetings.
Former Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo represented Korea at the talks and pointed out that Korea, China and Japan were passive in the discussion of Asian integration by joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as the so-called “plus three nations.” The three countries represent more than 60 percent of the GDP in the region, and if they cooperate, then massive synergy will be created. Mr. Lee was apt when he proposed the creation of an independent community in Northeast Asia including Mongolia and North Korea. We urge the leaders of the three nations to meet once every six months or at least once a year to discuss matters of integration.
It is also necessary to review constructive ideas presented by industrial leaders of the three countries at the meeting.
Of special note are proposals to prepare for possible financial crises by creating a shared fund, financed by raising each country’s foreign reserves by 5 percent, and conserving 8 billion dollars annually by purchasing and reserving crude oil together.
There is an unhappy past among the three countries. There are still remnants of war and heartache. The confrontations between China and Japan regarding issues such as deepening economic and military competition are difficult to deal with and a real hindrance.
But we cannot go forward without breaking the ice. Japan should take action in concert with the recent “thawing tour” by Chinese Premier Wen Ziabao.
The situation for Korea, sandwiched between China and Japan, can be viewed as an opportunity if we are determined to explore options. There are plenty of reasons for us to become a catalyst for a Northeast Asian community. President Roh is expected to push for regular summit meetings among South Korea, Japan and China during his remaining time in office.
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