On November 10-11, 2006, scholars from the United States, China, and Japan convened at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia, the third in a series of unofficial trilateral meetings held over the last sixteen months. The American delegation was sponsored and led by the Brookings Institution and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The Japanese delegation was organized by the Keizai Koho Center (KKC). The Chinese delegation was led by academicians from the School of International Studies of Peking University. The American scholars proposed these meetings in response to the rapid and alarming deterioration in Sino-Japanese relations in the spring of 2005, and their initiative was enthusiastically endorsed by scholars from China and Japan, who hosted the first two such conferences in Beijing in July 2005 and in Tokyo in May 2006.
The discussions had been candid, free-ranging, and constructive. The three delegations discussed strategic views and approaches of their respective countries in the region, and addressed numerous issues, including the sources of friction between China and Japan; attitudes toward the history of the last century; Chinese and Japanese public views toward each other; Iraq, Iran, and the greater Middle East; regional security issues (Korea, Taiwan, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction); development of regional institutions; energy; the recent U.S. elections; and economic cooperation.
While the delegations expressed only their personal opinions, all three groups briefed officials in their respective governments. Additionally, senior Chinese, Japanese, and American officials met with the delegations during successive trilateral meetings and gave strong support to our efforts. The delegations were gratified by the reactions of their respective governments. We hope that our collective efforts contributed in some small measure to the improved atmosphere in Sino-Japanese relations evident in recent months.
The three delegations particularly welcome the October 8-9 visit to Beijing by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his reception by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. The Prime Minister’s visit has contributed to improving the relationship between Japan and China. It culminated efforts by the two sides, with strong encouragement from the United States, to begin a process of rapprochement. The three delegations see Prime Minister Abe’s visit and the forthcoming visits by top Chinese leaders to Tokyo as wholly consistent with the objectives of this project. They hope that these visits will be followed by additional efforts to address underlying issues in the Beijing-Tokyo relationship.
The three delegations also welcomed the cooperative response of the three countries to the missile launches and nuclear tests undertaken by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). All the participants concur that Pyongyang’s actions were highly damaging to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and regional peace and stability, as well as to its own security interests. The delegations strongly believe it is critical that the next round of six party talks produces tangible results in reversing the process of nuclearization of the Korean peninsula. They stressed that all the goals enunciated in the September 2005 joint statement of principles, particularly the objective of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, are critical to achievement of regional security. Should North Korea acquire the ability to deliver nuclear weapons to the territories of its neighbors, it will profoundly destabilize the Northeast Asian region.
The delegations believe that the U.S., China, and Japan will exert the decisive influence on the future of the Asia-Pacific region. If all three countries can reach agreement on contentious political, economic, and security issues, achieving a broader regional consensus will be greatly facilitated; if they drift toward miscommunication and mutual suspicion, a peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific region will be unattainable. Therefore, it is of great importance to further develop stable, cooperative and constructive relations among the three countries.
The delegations urge our governments to convene a high-level tripartite dialogue among senior officials to candidly discuss regional and global issues. We are proposing a dialogue, not a new institution to replace or compete with others. The delegations concluded that the tripartite official dialogue should be conducted initially at an exploratory level, unburdened by structure or formality.
The conference participants agree that their unofficial trilateral discussions have proven valuable to identifying areas of common understanding, specifying priorities for improving mutual relations, and proposing solutions that can help all three sides to better manage their future relations. We believe that unofficial dialogues can play an important role in contributing to the prospects for building a durable, collaborative regional order for the 21st century.
Japan-U.S.-China Trilateral Meeting Participants
Jeffrey Bader, Director, John L. Thornton China Center, The Brookings Institution
Richard Bush, Director, Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution
Kurt Campbell, Senior Vice President, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Michael Green, Senior Advisor and Japan Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Associate Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Jing Huang, Senior Fellow, John L. Thornton China Center, The Brookings Institution
Derek Mitchell, Senior Fellow, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Kevin Nealer, Principal, The Scowcroft Group
Carlos Pascual, Vice President, Foreign Policy Studies Program, The Brookings Institution
Jonathan Pollack, Professor, Asian and Pacific Studies, Naval War College
James Steinberg, Dean, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
Wu Jianmin, President, China Foreign Affairs University
Fan Shiming, Associate Professor, School of International Studies, Peking University
Jia Qingguo, Associate Dean, School of International Studies, Peking University
Jin Xide, Deputy Director, Institute of Japanese Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Ma Xiaoye, President, Academy of World Watch
Qin Yaqing, Vice President, China Foreign Affairs University
Wang Jisi, Dean School of International Studies, Peking University
Yang Bojiang, Director, Institute of Japan Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations
Yuan Jian, Vice President, China Institute of International Studies
Yuan Ming, Associate Dean, School of International Studies, Peking University
Zhang Tuosheng, Chairman, Academic Assessment Committee, China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies
Koji Watanabe, Senior Fellow, Japan Center for International Exchange
Senior Advisor, Keizai Koho Center
Kensuke Kanekiyo, Managing Director, The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan
Ryosei Kokubun, Professor, Keio University
Masashi Nishihara, President, Research Institute for Peace and Security, Former President, National Defense Academy
Yukio Okamoto, President, Okamoto Associates, Inc., Former Special Advisor to the Prime Minister
Takashi Shiraishi, Vice President and Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
Katsuhiko Suetsugu, Secretary-General, Asia-Pacific Energy Forum
Tsuyoshi Sunohara, Senior Staff Writer, Nihon Keizai Shimbun
Akihiko Tanaka, Professor, The University of Tokyo
Hideaki Tanaka, Managing Director and Secretary-General, Keizai Koho Center
Susumu Yabuki, Emeritus Professor, Yokohama City University