ASEAN+3 Ministerial Meeting
Whether the Regional Cooperation Mechanism in East Asia can function well depends mostly on how much achievement made in cooperation among three East Asian economic powers: China, Japan and ROK. Among the nations with the GDP at the forefront in the world, only China, Japan and ROK haven't got involved in any regional trade arrangements or entered into regional or bilateral free trade agreements with any country or region for a long time. China, Japan and ROK have been isolated from others in the tideway of regional economic cooperation. Until now, they have entered into few free trade agreements. There are no cooperation arrangements among them. The wise men are fully aware that the cooperation between China, Japan and ROK is the key to the regional integration in East Asia. As a matter of fact, three countries have already had a shot at promoting the mutual cooperation. China's government has been playing an active role in promoting the cooperation among three countries. At the “10+3" Meeting in November 2002, in order to promote the cooperation between China, Japan and ROK, China's premier Zhu Rongji proposed that economic trade, information industry, environmental protection, human resources development and cultural exchange be identified as the priority cooperation areas for three countries, and advocated that three parties have medium and long-term cooperation in such a large-scale project as bringing the sandstorm under control, which was highly appreciated by Japan and ROK.
Wang Yi said that China, Japan and ROK are playing a leading role in catalyzing the regional integration. China is willing to maintain the coordination with Japan and ROK, to support ASEAN's leading position in 10+3 process and to support the East Asia to maintain the great momentum of cooperative development. ROK leaders also hope to facilitate the cooperation process among three countries. ROK Vice-Premier and Minister of Finance and Economy pointed out during his exclusive interview with British Financial Times on 29th October, “The Asian development urgently calls for the cooperation between ROK, China, and Japan." ROK Vice-Premier proposed in a specific plan that three countries sign Free Trade Agreement (FTA). In October 2003, China's Premier Wen Jiabao and Japan and ROK's leaders signed “Joint Declaration on the Promotion of Tripartite Cooperation among China, Japan and ROK". This is the first document concerning the cooperation among three parties, which defines the framework, principle and future way of the cooperation on the part of three countries. The construction of the cooperation mechanism among three countries is already under way. On September 13, 2002, for the first time, the trade ministers from three countries had a meeting in Brunei. They made a resolution that three countries should conduct the cooperation in IT so that the regional information difference can be cleared up. Besides, the cooperation among three countries will be promoted in terms of Business & Trade Symposium, WTO, APES and among others. The conception of Free Trade Zone has been brought forward by three countries.
The successful establishment of Free Trade Zone among China, Japan and ROK will thoroughly change the underdevelopment of Asian regional economic cooperation. In the meantime of the ministerial conference of Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in the late June of 2004, the China-Japan-ROK Tripartite Committee held its first meeting. In this meeting, the three ministers reviewed the developments of tripartite cooperation, discussed the orientation for future development of such cooperation and decided to jointly formulate "the Action Strategy for Tripartite Cooperation". On the whole, China, Japan and ROK have finalized five cooperation areas including economic trade, information industry, environmental protection, human resources development and cultural collaboration, and set up six Ministerial Meeting Mechanisms. In the future, such cooperation will be further broadened.