Summary of Proceedings at the 3rd Plenary Meeting

Outline of the 3rd Plenary Meeting of the NAECOC

7th February 2001 Niigata City

1. Report on member changes since the last meeting and introduction of those present

2. Transportation subcommittee report

Mr. Kayahara, Chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee reported on the content and progress of the committee’s activities, based on material distributed at the meeting.

3. About the Draft of the resolution for the 2001 Northeast Asia Economic Conference in Niigata

With regard to the explanation of the proposal given by Mr. Yoshida, the Secretariat Director, Dr. Cho suggested that clause 12 of the recommendations be revised, while Professor Shi suggested that, considering the importance of cooperation in the IT field, a clause relating to IT be added as clause 9. After the revision and addition were carried out, the recommendations were adopted by the committee. (Clause numbers in this document refer to the numbers in the recommendations as adopted at the meeting.) In addition to this, there was an exchange of opinions as follows.

Mr. Hirayama asked the Secretariat a question about which new clauses would be added at this year’s economic conference. Mr. Yoshida replied that clauses 2 to 7 dealt with the themes of transportation and the environment. Clauses 1 and 12 indicate points important to the formation of the Northeast Asia Regional Economic Sphere in the current international climate. Clause 11 is indicative of a stance focusing on the strengthening of lateral communication between the economic conference and other organizations, while with particular regard to the problem of development finance, cooperation to advance discussions on this subject receives a special mention in clause 10.

Mr. Fujino, who participated as an observer, questioned the definition of the words “East Asia”, as included in clause 12. In reply to this, Mr. Yamazawa explained that, although “East Asia” was a broad concept that included Southeast Asia, it was used here to add emphasis to the fact that Northeast Asia is also included in East Asia. Moreover, he pointed out that APEC, which has been hosted by ASEAN every other year, will take place in China this year and in South Korea in 2005, and he said that this may be a good opportunity to shift the focus of APEC in a more northerly direction. In connection with this point, Professor Shi pointed out that, given a situation where the globalization of economics is developing rapidly, Northeast Asia is an extremely important sub-region of East Asia, so economic cooperation should be promoted in the East Asia region. He also made the point that it was necessary to prevent East Asia from becoming an introverted bloc.

With regard to clause 2, Mr. Fujino raised the issue that there is perhaps a need to include expansion of trade and investment, as well as energy and transportation in the concept of bases for cooperative relations in Northeast Asia. In response to this, Mr. Hirayama pointed out that in past economic conferences, working on the understanding that transportation problems were one of the major factors obstructing the development of trade relations, sessions relating to transportation and trade took place together, and that the transportation subcommittee had been established as a result of that same understanding. Furthermore, in relation to energy problems centering on natural gas development in Sakhalin and Eastern Siberia, he explained that if one factored the problem of security in Northeast Asia into the equation, the shaping of an energy distribution network through, for example, the development of a pipeline, would also be a region-wide cooperation project.

4. Regarding the activity plan for the 2001 Organizing Committee

Mr. Yoshida explained the Secretariat’s proposal, based on material he distributed at the meeting

Mr. Koga informed the meeting of plan by the Japan-China Northeast Development Association and the People’s Government of Jilin Province to hold the “2001 Japan-China Economic Cooperation Conference in Jilin” in Changchun. This event, which could be described as “area-to-area” communication between the Northeast of China and Japan, follows on from the “2000 Japan-China Economic Cooperation Conference in Liaoning”, which was held by the People’s Government of Liaoning Province and the JCNDA in 2000. It is planned that at the next conference, the second time it will have been held, discussions will be held on the development of the Tumen River area, and various issues relating to agriculture, IT, etc.

Dr. Cho informed the committee that the Asian part of the Northeast Asia Economic Forum’s 10th Conference would take place in Changchun under the joint auspices of the People’s Government of Jilin Province and the UNDP Tumen River Area Development Programme Secretariat, while the North American part would take place in Anchorage. The Japan Committee for the Promotion of the Asian Energy Community (Executive Chairman: Mr. Taro Nakayama) and the Korea Transport Institute are taking major role in the organization of Changchun conference, which will focus on discussions relating to energy and transport issues. With the cooperation of the Japan Committee for the Promotion of the Asian Energy Community and NIRA, discussions at Anchorage will mainly focus on issues relating to energy security and the environment. It is hoped that there will be mutually beneficial cooperation with ERINA. In addition to the 10th conference, a total of 6 conferences are planned for the forum, including an electricity summit and a conference on the problems of establishing the Northeast Asian Development Bank.

Professor Shi told the committee that, in response to “ASEAN+3”, NIRA (Japan), KIEP (South Korea) and DRC (China) had collaborated in collating their proposals, which have been submitted to the leaders of each country. In addition, he pointed out the importance of a broad alliance of 6 countries, in which the other 3 Northeast Asian countries are included, which are collaborating to promote economic cooperation in Northeast Asia. Furthermore, he proposed that such interested parties as NIRA and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which will not take part this time, be invited to participate in the next economic conference.

Dr. Ishaev recommended that great attention be paid to the problems of electricity, as a research theme. The reason for this is that electricity-related projects could become a base for further energizing relations among the countries of Northeast Asia, particularly in the field of trade and economic cooperation. In order to do this, he suggested that joint research in this field be added to the activity plan.

Dr. Yamazawa proposed that, as one aspect of strengthening the Institute of Developing Economies’s collaboration with ERINA, the latter should take part in the “APEC Research Center Consortium Conference”, which will be held in China in May 2001. Moreover, he pointed out that cooperation to ensure that Asia is not left behind by the IT revolution is also a major issue within APEC.

Mr. Gombo reported on the Tumen River Area Development Programme. Deputy ministerial-level representatives of five Northeast Asian countries (excluding Japan) are participating in this project, which, at this moment in time, is the only inter-governmental organization in Northeast Asia. It could become a motive power in promoting economic cooperation in Northeast Asia. The Tumen Secretariat is cooperating with ERINA and the Northeast Asia Economic Forum’s East West Center. At the inter-government meeting planned for April 2001, it is planned to discuss the issue of expanding this project from the narrow Tumen River area to include Far Eastern Russia, Northeastern China, South Korea, North Korea and Mongolia. It is hoped that the Japanese government will participate.

Dr. Lai informed the committee that the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs is engaged on work as a follow-up to the Social Development Summit held in June 2000. Working from the point of view that socio-economic development is necessary in order to eliminate poverty, the department has begun holding workshops to support the governmental (particularly in the case of regional governments) and private sectors. Specifically, a workshop was held in Seoul in October 2000, while a seminar was held in Moscow in December. With the cooperation of the People’s Government of Heilongjiang Province and the Guangcai Programme (an NGO composed mainly of entrepreneurs), a large-scale symposium is planned for June 2001. Participants in this symposium will exchange their experiences, with the aim of eliminating poverty through promoting the protection of minority cultures and environmental conservation, as well as regional development and job creation.

Mr. Tsengel proposed that research on high voltage power transmission lines, as well as oil and gas pipelines that go from Siberia in Russia via Mongolia, be added to the 2001 activity plan.

Dr. Rha Woong-Bae, who was participating as an observer, expressed his hope that the economic development of Northeast Asia in the 21st century would provide a lead to the rest of the world, but pointed out that, given that the two countries of the Korean Peninsula were not participating in the Organizing Committee, the committee was somewhat incomplete. He requested that the Secretariat make efforts over the next year to secure the participation of a representative of the South Korean government and a representative of the DPRK.

Mr. Pak Kwan, who was also participating as an observer, expressed his fear that, without the participation of the DPRK, that country alone would end up being left behind. While expressing his wish to continue collaborating with the Organizing Committee, he stated his opinion to the effect that, in considering the content of the conference, the committee should opt for content relevant to the DPRK.

After hearing the opinions of all the committee members, it was decided that the Secretariat would revise part of the proposed activity plan, and the 2002 activity plan was decided upon.

5. Regarding the basic policy of the 2002 Northeast Asia Economic Conference.

Mr. Yoshida explained the Secretariat’s proposal based on material distributed to the members.

Mr. Hirayama pointed out that it was important for those connected with the countries of Northeast Asia to discuss the various problems of each country as common problems affecting everybody, and expressed his hope that the Organizing Committee would find a position from which common discussion could take place to that end. With a view to this, he suggested that, to balance the fact that the economic conference is held in Niigata, the meetings of the Organizing Committee could take place in a different city.

With regard to Mr. Hirayama’s proposal, Dr. Ishaev expressed his willingness to hold the Organizing Committee meeting in Khabarovsk.

In relation to the same matter, Dr. Cho suggested that the conference be cosponsored by the Northeast Asia Economic Forum’s Korea Committee and the Organizing Committee.

The Secretariat’s proposal for the basic policy of the 2002 Northeast Asia Economic Conference was agreed upon.

(Summarized by the secretariat)