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Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 10:02

Controlling differences key at trilateral talks

By Xinhua

BEIJING - As foreign ministers of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea(ROK) meet in Tokyo Wednesday, the three major Asian powers should work together to make their differences controllable.

The final date of the eighth trilateral foreign ministers' meeting, the second gathering since the talks resumed in March 2015 after a three-year hiatus, was not released until Monday afternoon.

Although high-ranking diplomats of the three countries had met in Tokyo for final deliberations about whether to hold such a trilateral meeting this month, there has been pessimism until Monday that the meeting could be postponed.

The tortuous process of nailing down a trilateral foreign ministers' meeting nine years after the first of its kind was held in 2007 implies that differences on regional issues have been haunting relations among China, Japan and South Korea.

Tokyo's illegal claim for the ownership of the China-owned Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, its interference in the disputes over South China Sea islands, as well as its unrepentant attitude toward the crimes it committed in World War II, have gravely damaged its relations with Beijing.

Besides, Seoul's acceptance of US deploying a missile defense system, whose X-band radar can peer deep into China and Russia, on its soil has greatly threatened the strategic interests of the two countries and undermined regional stability.

Against such a backdrop, the fact that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi still came to Tokyo since he took office in 2013 has shown China's sufficient sincerity to cooperate with Japan and ROK.

China, Japan and ROK are neighbors and important countries in East Asia. Trilateral cooperation between them exerts great influence on peace and stability, development and prosperity in the region and the world.

With their total economy accounting for one fifth of the global economy and 70 percent of the Asian economy, the three countries have started the 10th round of negotiations on a free trade zone among them, which is expected to enhance industrial complementarity, explore potential in trade and investment and further integrate regional value chain.

However, cooperation in economy and trade should be built on the basis of mutual political trust among the three parties.

Both Tokyo and Seoul should abandon the Cold War mentality and view the peaceful rise of China as vigor to regional development. They also should avoid being the tools for some countries outside the region to undermine regional stability.

Facing the complex trilateral relations among the three neighbors, the best solution is to seek common interests while reserving differences. That is the reason why the Tokyo meeting can finally take place.

Only through maintaining the trilateral mechanism for dialogue and cooperation, can China, Japan and ROK avoid strategic misunderstanding and make their differences controllable, so as to safeguard regional security and stability.

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