Remarks at the Opening Ceremony
Of the 4th China-Japan-Republic of Korea Youth Forum
Amb. LU Shumin, President of UNA-China
Sapporo September 17, 2013
Dr. Sen Genshitsu,
Honorable Mr. Fumio Ueda,
Mr. Toshio Sato,
Mr. Masaji Takahashi,
Amb. Akashi Yasushi,
Amb. Lee Ho-Jin,
Amb. Park Soo-gil,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, it’s such a great pleasure for me to attend the 4th China-Japan-Republic of Korea Youth Forum. First of all, on behalf of the UNA-China, I would like to congratulate the UNA-Japan on the successful convening of the Forum and also particularly, for choosing this beautiful city Sapporo to be the host city. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the Prefecture of Hokkaido, the City of Sapporo, the Sapporo University and the Sapporo Convention Center for your excellent arrangement and warm hospitality.
China, Japan and Republic of Korea are neighbors separated only by a narrow strip of water, sharing common cultural traditions and a long history of interactions. The three countries are all important economies and stakeholders of the world.
We had glorious past. From 1950s and 1960s, Japan sustained economic growth for almost 20 years and became the 2nd largest economy in the world. From 1960s and 1970s, the ROK became a member of the Four Little Asian Tigers. From 1970s and on, China has witnessed a rapid economic development and become the world 2nd largest economy after the United States.
Now, we have shared dreams. The new leaderships of the three countries have put forward their respective dreams for development. The Chinese dream is to achieve the great rejuvenation of the nation. The Korean dream is to create the second miracle of the Han River, and the Japanese dream is to revitalize its economy. The description of the dreams might be different, but there is one thing in common, and that is the pursuit of happiness, prosperity and harmony.
However, dreams are often plump while the reality is skinny. I want to use this popular internet vocabulary to describe the world today. We are living in an era of profound transformation and transition, with the rising tides of multi-polarity and globalization, increasing cultural diversity and fast-emerging ICTs. We are also living in an age of multiple crises too — food, fuel, flu and finance. These crises are compounded by even greater challenges, such as climate change, proliferation of deadly weapons and the plight of many millions of people living in poverty. Looking back to the East Asia, the situation is of no exception. We have unresolved history and territorial disputes. We are still experiencing the negative influence of the Cold War. We are witnessing the rise of nationalism. We have to deal with other factors, all of which will add to the uncertainty in the region.
In face up to the challenges, if we are determined to realize our dreams, create new development miracles and maintain long-term peace in the region, concerted and collective efforts are needed at regional and global levels. In this context, shall we borrow inspiration and wisdom from our ancient cultural belief? The answer, I believe, must be yes. The countries of China, Japan and ROK share a common belief in Confucianism. Confucianism believes that man and nature, man and society shall live in peace and harmony. The core of Confucianism consists of five virtues, namely, ren, yi, li, zhi, xin, meaning benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, and credibility or truth, leading to tolerance, morality mutual respect, discipline and honesty. Therefore, the essence of the East Asian culture is about the pursuit of peace that features love, non-offense and good-neighborliness, the concept of harmony that features peace being of paramount importance and harmony with diversity, and the diplomatic tradition that cherishes people from afar and values giving rather than receiving. But how to translate the geographic and cultural values into political and economic ones? Here, I would like to share some of my thoughts.
First, peace should be the ultimate goal for the East Asia cooperation. When we examine the history and current status of the East Asian cooperation, it can never be overemphasized the importance of the achievements we have made in various areas from trade and finance, peace and security, personnel and cultural exchanges, to institutional building. They constitute, I believe, the mainstream and serve as the basis of the East Asian cooperation. Inevitably, of course, the East Asian cooperation faces obstacles, including divergence, grievance, institution deficiency and so on so forth. But what is more important is the common aspiration for and commitment to building a peaceful and prosperous region. Therefore, resolution of disputes through dialogue and negotiation, on the basis of peaceful co-existence, mutual benefits, respects, openness and inclusiveness, is a better choice for the benefits of the countries, the people and the world at large.
Secondly, the pursuit of sustainable development must be high on our agendas. We had glorious past and will have bright future as well. We should step up efforts to build a Free Trade Agreement among our three countries, and advance regional economic integration. We should accelerate progress towards all-dimensional connectivity, and explore the possibility of an Asian investment and financing platform.
Thirdly, the youth in the region deserves our full attention and support. Dear young friends, you are the future builders of our respective countries. In the future, you will become economists, university professors, experts, diplomats and politicians. You represent our future. I have two calls on the youth in the region. First, the youth should be an indispensable part in enhancing the understanding and communication among peoples in the region, with the aim to enrich and improve the cooperation for civil society, including women, think-tanks, parliaments, NGOs and civil organizations, enhance friendship among our peoples, and promote friendly exchanges among our youth in particular. Second, the youth should play a key role in innovation, harnessing science and technology to solve the challenges such as food security, energy shortage, extreme poverty, digital divide, and strive to leapfrog our economies to a new level. In doing so, I believe, we will be able to build a framework for commonly shared values in our region.
Therefore, dear young friends, you understand your duties and responsibilities. And I trust you are also confident in filling these responsibilities for a better and safer future and world for all of us.
With that, I wish you all have excellent performance and also wish this forum a great success.