A trilateral achievement

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A trilateral achievement

No doubt many hands make light work. If neighbors in the region - Korea, China and Japan - can form a united front on important issues, there are many areas where they can generate a synergy effect, particularly when it’s about coping with common threats.

The idea of establishing a trilateral consultative body was proposed on Monday at the sixth session of the Northeast Asia Trilateral Forum in Hangzhou, China. The proposal mooted at the annual meeting of 30 civilian leaders from each country reflects their shared view that together we can overcome natural disasters more effectively than confronting them alone. The event, co-sponsored by the JoongAng Ilbo, China’s Xinhua News Agency and Japan’s Nikkei, is aimed at boosting nongovernmental exchanges among the three countries.

The cataclysmic earthquake, huge tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan have brought it home that no neighboring country is immune to the ripple effect of natural calamities that befall its neighbor. The 30 sages representing each country stressed the importance of cooperation in dealing with such massive disasters.

At the forum, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone came up with a proposal to set up a permanent consultative entity in Kobe, Japan, to cope with various types of disasters. He chose Kobe because the city has hard-earned knowledge about disaster recovery following the 1995 quake that caused it so much damage and heartbreak.

China’s former Deputy Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan proposed that the three countries form a special team of experts to share their experiences, technology and equipment. With regard to nuclear accidents in particular, Korea’s former Minister of Environment Kim Myung-ja suggested the countries construct a network that would help them cooperate in such critical areas as safety standards, upgrading design standards for old nuclear reactors, and management of spent nuclear fuel.

Meeting in different locations since 2006, the yearly forum has so far presented not a few ideas, with many of them implemented. A summit meeting on an annual basis is one of the achievements of the forum. The fourth summit is scheduled for Tokyo next month. We hope the leaders of the three countries will seriously consider the proposals the countries’ representatives presented. If a trilateral mechanism for coping with large-scale natural calamities can be created in the wake of Japan’s tragedies, it will be a new chapter of collaboration in Northeast Asia.
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