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"CEAC Commentary"presents views of members of CEAC on an East Asian Community and other related international affairs. The view expressed herein is the author's own and should not be attributed to CEAC.
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New Development of the Japan-China-ROK Summit as Dispute Settlement Mechanism
By ISHIGAKI Yasuji
Delegate for Japan to AALCO and Former Professor
of Tokai University
As result of the recent double resignations of Prime Minister Hatoyama and Democratic Party Secretary General Ozawa, the Japanese Government has been again faced with a reset, causing some inevitable confusion. There is at present a mixture of hope and anxiety entertained by many, for there is no knowing yet whether the new administration's foreign policy would be one to meet the expectation of the people and to restore trust from other countries. In the meantime, in East Asia the international expert team's investigation revealed that the recent incident of the sinking of the Korean warship was most possibly caused by the torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine. North Korea strongly refuted the results of the investigation and reacted with a war footing stance, and thus, the Korean peninsula has suddenly become strained to the breaking point. It seems that the scenario of resuming the Six Party Talks, which was a heated topic just before, had been blown away afar.
The world's attention has now been shifted towards the discussions in the UN Security Council: whether it would be able to denounce North Korea's action in the name of international community and to take appropriate measures to prevent effectively the recurrence of similar incidents. Amid these events, it was particularly noted that the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit was held in Jeju Island in Korea and dealt with this question as a de facto central issue. As well- known, the Japan-China-ROK Summit had traditionally been held very briefly at the margin of the ASEAN+3 Summit or the East Asian Summit (EAS), and it has only very recently become an annual event to be held independently of the ASEAN-related meetings, ever since the Trilateral Summit was convened in Fukuoka, Japan, during the Aso Administration, in December, 2008. Therefore, it had been decided beforehand that the recent Third Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit was to be held on May 29th and 30th, and was preceded by the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of three nations on May 15th in Jeju Island.
As the investigation report on the sinking of the Korean warship was released on May 20th, it was quite natural that this incident became a central hot issue at the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit and serious exchange of views and discussion took place at the meeting upon this topic. Korea asserted the need for this issue to be discussed in the Security Council in order to take appropriate measures and Japan strongly supported the Korean position and requested China's cooperation, whereas China advocated the necessity of careful and calm approach to this issue to avoid an armed clash. The significance of having had such discussions at this meeting at a regional level is undeniable and great. Having a talk among Japan, China, and Korea, major powers concerned in the East Asian region before this incident was officially tabled for discussions in the Security Council would have no doubt been useful and benefitted the United Nations for taking most appropriate treatment of this matter.
It was, however, just a sheer coincidence that a high level meeting of Japan-China-Korea to discuss such a thorny issue was actually held in such a timely manner, because that meeting was predetermined to take place at the abovementioned date and location by chance. Nevertheless, it was very significant that the said meeting produced a basic agreement of the three countries to institutionalize the Japan-China-Korea Trilateral Summit by way of establishing a permanent organization, the "Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat" in Korea in 2011. In the future, if this new institution could further enable the three countries not only to have an annual meeting, but also to convene at a request of one member state emergency trilateral talks whenever the need arises to discuss any disputed issue, and if such cases and experiences would be built up, it may develop into a political mechanism of the "East Asian Community," which might well be termed as an epoch-making progress in the region.
(This is the English translation of an article which originally appeared on the BBS "Hyakka-Somei" of CEAC on 6 June, 2010, and was posted on "CEAC Commentary" on 17 June, 2010.)
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For more views and opinions in the backnumber of "CEAC Commentary," the latest of which are as follows, please refer to:
No.62 Bureaucracy behind the One Percent Pass Rate of Foreign Nurses
by IRIYAMA Akira, Guest Professor of Cyber University, and Executive Research Advisor of International Development Center of Japan
(27 April, 2010)
No.61 A Testing Time for Discussions on an East Asian Community
by ISHIGAKI Yasuji, Delegate for Japan to AALCO and former Professor of Tokai University
(26 February, 2010)
No.60 Japan Should Cooperate with U.S. on APEC
by OKAZAKI Hisahiko, President of the OKAZAKI Institute
(25 December, 2009)
No.59 Accelerating Exports to Asia is the Only Way to Regenerate Japanese Agriculture
by SHINDO Eiichi, Professor Emeritus of Tsukuba University
(31 October, 2009)
No.58 An East Asian Community and Advocates of "Koa-ron"
by YAMASHITA Eiji, Professor of Osaka City University
(31 August, 2009)
"CEAC Updates" introduces to you latest events, announcements and/or publications of CEAC.
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The 40th Policy Plenary Meeting Held to Discuss "The Beginning of a New Chapter towards the Establishment of an ASEAN community"
The 40th Policy Plenary Meeting of the Council on East Asian Community (CEAC) was held on 20 May, 2010 at the Conference Room of the Japan Forum on International Relations to discuss "The Beginning of a New Chapter towards the Establishment of an ASEAN community." Amb. KATORI Yoshinori, Director-General of Foreign Service Training Institute and former Ambassador for ASEAN, made a keynote report, which was followed by an active exchange of views among members of CEAC.
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