Follow the Trend of History and Usher in a New Future of China-Japan-ROK Cooperation
– Remarks by Dai Bingguo at the International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation 2018
Tokyo, 18 April 2018
Vice President Komura Masahiko,
Member of the ROK National Assembly Moon Hee-sang,
Secretary-General Lee Jong-heon,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Spring is the season for planning the whole year. In this luxuriant spring, I am glad to be back in Tokyo nearly 10 years after my last visit here. It’s a pity that I missed the beautiful sakura blossoms, but I am very happy to see so many old friends and new faces and discuss with you the new vision for China-Japan-ROK cooperation and also to take a look at the new changes in the city Tokyo. Let me first warmly congratulate you on the successful opening of the Forum and express my sincere appreciation for the thoughtful preparations and arrangements of the China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of stand-alone China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Summit, and next year will be the 20th year of China-Japan-ROK cooperation. And the next China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Summit will be held soon. Hence, it is of high significance for this Forum to theme on “The Opening of a New Chapter for Trilateral Cooperation” and focus on the key word “new”.
Allow me to share my observations and invite your opinions on three topics.
1. The global context of our trilateral cooperation
The three countries of ours, in the east, are important part of the world. As we discuss the future of our trilateral cooperation, it is indeed impossible for us to overlook the world we live in.
Looking around our world, we can easily see a lot of conflicts, problems, troubles, difficulties and challenges. It is hardly a peaceful, fair world. Here are some examples.
Although there is no big war, skirmishes, conflicts and all sorts of disputes keep cropping up, and turbulence remains unabated in some places. This has imposed much suffering on innocent civilians.
Uncertainties and surprises, rarely seen before, have emerged along the new developments and changes in the international landscape and within a number of countries. Many countries and people feel anxious and helpless.
Ever more new problems and challenges give growing difficulties and challenges to decision-makers in governing a political party or a country. Different social systems are also undergoing serious tests. Global governance becomes quite a thorny task.
Cold-war mentality, hegemonism and unilateralism still haunt international relations and are even making increasingly serious inroads into the existing international order and commonly practiced international rules, turning back the wheel of history.
Rapid scientific and technological progress, particularly new technologies like artificial intelligence, have both kindled people’s new hope for a better life and created many concerns and unease. People are keen to explore ways to ensure that such progress is tamed at humankind’s service, instead of threatening human survival and development.
Poverty, disease, environmental pollution, climate change, terrorism and populism still besiege many countries and regions. There is a long way to go for all people to have a peaceful, happy life.
This said, if we take a historical, macro perspective, we can see that the development of human society may have entered a new era.
First, economic globalization and application of information technology in an increasingly multi-polar world, especially the fast development of science and technology, are changing the ways of production, thinking patterns, lifestyles and behaviors of the human society at an exponential speed, taking it forward at a higher level.
Second, the world is seeing an unprecedented collective rise of developing countries and the common, mutually reinforcing development of developed countries, emerging countries and other developing countries at different levels. This is significantly influencing and changing the shape of the world.
Third, history has not ended. After some ups and downs and through reform, socialism has made a substantive leap forward, demonstrating new vitality and dynamism, and entering a new era of long-term peaceful coexistence with capitalism, featuring mutual learning and win-win cooperation.
Fourth, on this planet, the common homeland of all humanity, different regions and countries have extensive and in-depth interconnected interests at an unprecedented level and are interdependent in development. The range, scale and degree of the common global challenges facing humanity today are unprecedented. While their sense of alliance is weaker, people now have stronger desires to independently decide the future of their countries, coexist as equals, pursue win-win cooperation, and resolve disputes peacefully. There is a greater sense of community with shared interests, and it has become the consensus and goal of more and more people to build a community with shared interests and future for mankind.
Fifth, today’s major-country relationship is characterized by both cooperation and competition between the United States, the sole super power, and China, Russia, India, the EU, Japan and other strong players. They are all leveraging their strengths, yet no one alone can dominate the world or act willfully. Moreover, as the huge nuclear stockpiles curb the urge for war, another world war would not break out easily. Mankind has managed to avoid a world war in the past more than 70 years. We must keep up our good work and jointly foster a new type of major-country relations to make sure that there would be no more world war in human lives.
Sixth, the scale and abundance of the wealth that mankind has created today, and the number of people enjoying such wealth and the extensity of the regions that they live in, are unimaginable several decades ago. It is no longer a world where only hundreds of millions of people had exclusive access to quality lives. Now billions of people are already living or about to live well-off lives with dignity. Alleviation and eradication of poverty has become an important goal for humanity.
To put it together: though confronted with many problems and challenges, humanity is full of hope; it has made enormous progress in the past, and will make even more in the future. The world, though not peaceful, will not plunge into severe chaos. The road is tortuous but there are brilliant prospects ahead. Those who insist on turning the clock back and mess up the world will be crushed by the wheel of history. It is thus imperative that our three countries clearly read and follow the trend of the world, as this will be instrumental to developing our countries and advancing the relations and cooperation among us.