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Experts upbeat about economic cooperation in Northeast Asia

Author  :  Yan Yong     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2017-08-08

At a recent forum in Yanji, Northeast China’s Jilin Province, scholars expressed optimism about economic cooperation among countries in Northeast Asia, saying there is huge potential to be tapped in multilateral collaboration.

Held at Yanbian University on July 22, the “Summit Forum on the Korean Peninsula 2017: Building of Peace and Security Mechanisms in the Korean Peninsula” gathered approximately 50 experts from China, the United States, Russia, Japan and South Korea. It was co-hosted by the Co-Innovation Center for Korean Peninsula Studies at Yanbian University and the National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University of China.

Marina Kukla, head of the Russia and Korean Peninsula Research Center at Far Eastern Federal University in Russia, noted that free trade agreements can boost trade development through the free flow of goods and investment, thus strengthening economic ties.

Russia holds enormous potential to foster bilateral economic relations with the DPRK and South Korea and to cooperate with multilateral institutions in the Asia-Pacific region, Kukla said, adding that mutual distrust will eventually be replaced by growing interests and opportunities.

Regarding Russia-South Korea relations, Kukla said that the two countries should enhance non-economic and trade contact, especially in cross-border tourism.

Attendees at the forum said that China plays a vital role in economic cooperation within Northeast Asia, urging countries in the region to draw upon Chinese experience.

“From the economic perspective, the scale and market value of economic cooperation between China and South Korea have indisputably exceeded that between South Korea and the United States,” said Aleksandr Voroncov, director of the Institute of North Korean and Mongolian Studies under the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Huang Dahui, an associate professor from the School of International Studies at Renmin University, said that a system for economic and trade cooperation will enable countries in the region to build a common interest base.

Currently, China, Japan and South Korea have grown increasingly interdependent and complementary in the economic sphere, so the three countries should work together to create a new Asia-Pacific Free Trade Zone system and provide inspirations for cooperation and future community building in Northeast Asia, Huang said. This also conforms to the demands and value orientations of the three nations, he added.

In addition to economic cooperation, scholars said that so-called soft topics in the region merit equal attention. These include climate, transportation, tourism, and disaster prevention and reduction.

Park Myoung-Kyu, a professor of sociology at Seoul National University in South Korea, said that there is much room for regional exchanges and cooperation despite various conflicts in Northeast Asia. Countries can attempt to gradually establish a peace mechanism starting with soft topics.

“To realize peace and stability in Northeast Asia, it is especially crucial to build a benign, effective mechanism, expand communication with the international community, and deepen understanding, thereby easing tension,” Park said.

Not only should governments of Northeast Asian countries perform significant responsibilities, but they should also strive to promote non-governmental communication and cooperation, said Jung Keun-sik, director of the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, noting that active exchange and cooperation among universities is a good example.

Yu Shaohua, a research fellow at China Institute of International Studies, suggested revitalizing China-Japan-South Korea cooperation in different fields, exploring multiple forms of dialogue within the Six-Party Talk, and seeking a common path on the basis of the “Belt and Road” initiative.

Diverse forms of cooperation in various fields with the goal of common security and prosperity will be conducive to maintaining peace in Northeast Asia, Yu said. In addition to economic cooperation, scholars said that so-called soft topics in the region merit equal attention. These include climate, transportation, tourism, and disaster prevention and reduction.

Park Myoung-Kyu, a professor of sociology at Seoul National University in South Korea, said that there is much room for regional exchanges and cooperation despite various conflicts in Northeast Asia. Countries can attempt to gradually establish a peace mechanism starting with soft topics.

“To realize peace and stability in Northeast Asia, it is especially crucial to build a benign, effective mechanism, expand communication with the international community, and deepen understanding, thereby easing tension,” Park said.

Not only should governments of Northeast Asian countries perform significant responsibilities, but they should also strive to promote non-governmental communication and cooperation, said Jung Keun-sik, director of the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, noting that active exchange and cooperation among universities is a good example.

Yu Shaohua, a research fellow at China Institute of International Studies, suggested revitalizing China-Japan-South Korea cooperation in different fields, exploring multiple forms of dialogue within the Six-Party Talks, and seeking a common path on the basis of the “Belt and Road” initiative.

Diverse forms of cooperation in various fields with the goal of common security and prosperity will be conducive to maintaining peace in Northeast Asia, Yu said.

 

  

  

  

Editor: Bai Le

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