Scholars from universities and think tanks and former officials from China, Japan and the United States met in Beijing on July21-22 to discuss relations among the three countries. Peking University served as host of the meeting. The participants decided to convene this meeting in the wake of frictions between China and Japan earlier this year. The proposal for the meeting originated in The Brookings Institution and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who proposed the gathering to the School of International Studies of Peking University and Keizai Koho Center. The reaction of both was positive, and along with Brookings and CSIS they have served as sponsors of this meeting.
The meeting provided the occasion for an extensive and candid discussion among the participating scholars on subjects including strategic perceptions of the three countries, policies toward the Asia-Pacific region, economic issues, regional points of tension and hot spots, counter-terrorism, and energy. Participants discussed frankly the differences in interests, policies, and perceptions that have led to frictions, including issues of history, negative popular attitudes, and the role of education and media. The emphasis, however, was on how to build cooperation wherever possible and to minimize tensions. The participants believe that a stable and cooperative relationship among China, Japan, and the United States will be in the best interests of the three countries and the rest of the world.
The discussions dealt primarily with the concerns of China and Japan and ways to address and hopefully bridge differences between them. Relations of the two countries with the United States was discussed and the participants felt American involvement in the discussions was important because of the U.S. political, economic, and security interests that affect policies and perceptions of countries in the region.
The participants in the conference are especially pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing for an hour on July 21. They welcomed this important demonstration of the interests in and understanding of the Chinese Government in this trilateral forum and its objectives.
The organizers have decided to hold another meeting in Japan in the first half of next year to continue their discussions, after which they intend to write a report with recommendations. They hope these meetings will produce greater three-way understanding and prompt initiatives that could close gaps among the three countries.
The participants wish to make clear that in holding this meeting and putting forward their views and ultimately recommendations, they are acting purely in their personal capacities and not representing their Governments.
Contact: Sarah Thompson, CNAPS, 202/797-6055