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They have provided a platform to discuss how multilateral cooperation in the region can promote sustainable peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in East Asia. Efforts of one country are not enough to achieve those goals; rather, international cooperation is needed for building peace and prosperity and addressing stability and security issues in the region.
The Jeju Forum 2015 will accelerate the process of building a solid multinational cooperation mechanism for Asia with the theme of “Towards a New Asia of Trust and Harmony.”
Since its inception in 2001, the Jeju Forum has made a substantial impact worldwide with relevant topics, prominent speakers and distinguished participants, establishing itself as a major international forum in Asia.
The forum initially was a biennial meeting under the name of “Jeju Peace Forum.” It was renamed “Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity” in 2011. Since then, it has been restructured as an annual event held every May on Jeju Island.
While it has addressed a variety of topics in each forum, the Jeju Forum has focused on the recurring theme of Asia’s future-oriented vision and has chosen themes relevant at the time. Last year’s theme was “Designing New Asia,” reflecting the previous themes “New Waves in Asia” in 2013 and “New Trends and the Future of Asia” in 2012.
The participants include a mix of political and social leaders and senior members of government, academia, international organizations and business, and number more than 3,700 persons from 50 countries.
Speakers have included UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former Korean President Kim Dae-jung, former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Korea Han Seung-soo, former Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama and the president of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and former Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.
The first forum was held in 2001 under the theme of “Building Common Peace and Prosperity in Northeast Asia.” Its objective was to address the region’s prospects for peace, stability, and prosperity in the 21st century. There were 350 participants from nine countries, including Korean President Kim Dae-jung and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry.
The second forum was held in 2003 with the theme “Building a Northeast Asian Community: Challenges and New Visions.” The 2nd Jeju Forum discussed geopolitical and economic developments within the region and their implications for the bureaucratic, economic, and policy environments. About 450 participants from eight countries attended, including Korea’s new president, Roh Moo-hyun, and former Prime Minister of Russia Yevgeny Primakov.
The third forum was held in 2005 with the Korean government’s full support, and addressed economic cooperation in addition to security. With the theme of “Building a Northeast Asian Community: Towards Peace and Prosperity,” the forum discussed ways to facilitate regional cooperation in free trade agreements, the financial and banking sectors, transportation and energy security. There were 500 participants from 10 countries, including former Prime Minister of Japan Tomiichi Murayama.
The fourth forum in 2007, “Peace and Prosperity in Northeast Asia: Exploring the European Experience,” discussed Europe’s experience in political, security and economic issues, such as the Cold War, Germany’s reunification and the European Union’s integration and its possible application to Northeast Asia. The meeting also sought an institutional framework for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. There were 500 participants from 13 countries, including President Roh Moo-hyun, former Prime Minister of Russia Yevgeny Primakov and former Prime Minister of Japan Toshiki Kaifu.
Under the title “Shaping New Regional Governance in East Asia: A Common Vision for Mutual Benefit and Common Prosperity,” the 2009 fifth forum approached broader concepts than in previous years and held sessions dealing with themes such as history, the economy and international cooperation. The forum also addressed key security issues such as North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and nontraditional security issues such as East Asia’s historical antagonisms and regional governments’ use of soft power.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon discussed the three pillars of multilateralism in East Asia; there were 650 participants from 13 countries, including Ban and former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard.
The sixth forum in 2011 focused on Northeast Asian key issues such as China’s rising power and its implications for Asia’s economy and orderly Asian financial markets. With the title, “New Asia: For Peace and Prosperity,” the forum included discussions on regional security, including nuclear security, maritime security and security on the Korean Peninsula as it relates to reunification. There were 1,880 participants from 23 countries, including former President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The seventh Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity in 2012 took as its theme “New Trends and the Future of Asia.” Rapid change contributes greatly to the advancement of the world order, and achieving peace and prosperity in Asia is one of the most significant tasks for global peace and prosperity. After the end of the Cold War and in light of economic crises around the world, the nations of Asia are moving toward dialogue and cooperation in order to overcome their differences and conflicts. About 3,100 participants from 36 countries, including Prime Minister of Kyrgyz Republic Omurbek Babanov, former Prime Minister of Australia Paul Keating and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, attended the forum.
The eighth forum was held in 2013 with the theme of “New Waves in Asia.” The year of 2013 marked a transition for the international community, with changes in the administrations of the United States, Japan, China, Russia, North Korea and South Korea. Major policy changes were expected in the Asia-Pacific region after the changes in the top leaders of many countries because of heightened tensions stemming from territorial disputes and continuing nuclear weapons work in North Korea.
Yukio Hatoyama, a former prime minister of Japan, said at the World Leaders’ Session, “Learning from the European experience, the hostile nations in Asia must cooperate in achieving common goals.” The forum hosted nearly 3,700 participants from 49 countries.
The 9th Jeju Forum was held in 2014 under the theme “Designing New Asia”. The key agenda of the forum was international cooperation and security, business and economy, culture, gender, environment and sustainability and community development.
Asia-Pacific leaders contributed their perspectives, including Julia Gillard, the prime minister of Australia. She said at the World Leaders Session the Asia-Pacific regional leaders “need to face and acknowledge our history and see the future strategically while cooperating.” There were about 60 international and domestic sessions where participants tried to unravel the region’s paradoxes in search of a “new Asia.” There were more than 3,700 participants from 58 countries.
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