June 1, 2001｜China
President, Japan-China Northeast Development Association
Looking at the rightward from an observatory, the Tumen River is running quietly and the range of DPRK’s mountains is seen in a close view over the river. Little lower of the river, a railroad bridge called Friendship Bridge connects between the DPRK and Russia. On the leftward, Russian terra spreads over the simple fences of national border, and I could see a Russian farmer working on his farm. Farmer’s houses and national border security guard’s lodging houses are scattered throughout the land.
This is an observatory in Fangchuan area near Hunchun city, Jilin Province, China. Wind was little strong and the air was chillier that the ordinary weather of the end of May, however, the border that divides three countries was truly calm and peaceful.
The three countries are literally within hailing distance; the Tumen River runs into the Japan Sea at 15 km lower from the area, as well as to many Japanese ports over sea, including Niigata port. The Fangchuan area could be stated as a symbol of the Tumen River area development carried on with the international cooperation.
The landscape itself, including nature, hasn’t changed since I visited the area three years ago. Only the time required to come from central Hunchun to the area has shortened according to the maintenance of the road; it took two and half hours three years ago while it took about one and half hour this time.
The Quanhe customs office, the doorway to the DPRK on the way to Hunchun, has remodeled to a nice building. It is an effect of the economic development in China in which I realized that the economic exchange between the DPRK and Russia has become a big current.
We Japan-China Northeast Development Association hold “The Japan-China Economic Cooperative Conference in Jilin, 2001” in Changchun, Jilin Province in China from May 17 th to 18th.
The conference was held hosted by the People’s Government, Jilin Province in China and the Japan-China Northeast Development Association in Japan with as many as about 150 participants who were concerned to promote economic exchange in or for the Northeast China.
On the Chinese side, those participants related to government and company attended to the conference not only from Changchun and Yajin within Jilin Province, but also from Heilongjiang Province and Liaoning Province. On the Japanese side, under the auspices of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations as well as various groups related to Japan and China, sponsors cooperated, including Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Foreign affairs, ERINA, JETRO, and prefectures such as Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Kanagawa, Niigata, Toyama, Nagano, Tottori and Shimane.
In order to participate in the conference, a delegation with 77 strong members was sent to China. The leader of the group was Mr. Koga, chairman of the Japan-China Northeast Development Association (counsel of Nisshin Steel), the vice leaders were Mr. Yoshida, vice chairman of the association (director general of ERINA), Mr. Fukawa, executive director of the association (adviser of Nisshin Oil Mills, LTD.), Mr. Kodama, executive director of the association (vice president of Sankyu Inc.) and Mr. Okazaki, consulate-general of Japan, Shenyang as an advisor.
A breakdown of 77 strong members shows that 70% of the total members belonged to the companies and banks, while 30% to local governments and groups. Also, 70% of the members were the Japanese companies, local governments and groups in Japan, while 30% were the resident members of those in the cities of China such as Beijin, Changchun, Dalian and Shenyang. I would like to make a special mention that Mr. Park, chairman of Dong Long Shipping Co.,Ltd. participated all the way from Seoul, the ROK. Under such circumstances that exchanges have been developing among the Russia Far East, the DPRK, the ROK, Northeast China and Japan along with the progress of the Tumen River area development, he, who has made effort to carry on business in this area to open a concrete sea line, was interested in the conference and joined. After the conference, he remarked that the conference was very meaningful.
As you have already known, Jilin Province is a front-line base of China for the Tumen River area development. The conference’s primary theme was to deal with the problems of export and import of agricultural products and promotion of exchange among cities on the bases of the progress of the development. Related to the issues, we had the on-site inspection as I mentioned at the beginning of this article.
The second theme was the issue to establish information network utilizing Information Technology (IT) so as to promote long time history and its unique exchange between Japan and the Northeast China.
Overall, I believe that the conference was truly fruitful. In a word, as I mentioned above, we had many concerned participants in the conference from a variety of fields and could exchange fairly focused opinions to lead practical prospect.
The conference was held at Shenyang, Liaoning Province last year and will be held at Harbin, Heilongjiang Province next year.
Some participants in this conference have already expressed that they certainly would like to attend the conference next year again.
The plot suggested by ERINA during the conference to establish a permanent section meeting for the regional cooperation is a wonderful idea and I predict that it will have wide support.
I believe that the “continuous exchange among regions” will be a big power that work with reality.
[Translated by ERINA]