September 1, 2000｜China
Professor, Faculty of Economics, Fukui Prefectural University
The situation in the Korean Peninsula has changed dramatically due to the North-South summit. This has created an opportunity for the promotion of economic cooperation in Northeast Asia. Now, a challenge is how to establish a good cycle of cooperation.
At the first half of the 1990s, economic cooperation in Northeast Asia was a hot issue because of the collapse of the Cold War structure. However, in the latter half of the decade, this issue cooled down due to economic factors, such as the long-lasting negative growth of the Russian and the DPRK economies and long-term stagnation of the Japanese economy, as well as political factors, including “Chinese Threat” and the strengthening of the Japan-US Security Treaty. Thus, economic cooperation in the region did not see much progress. However, a great turning point has come as a result of the “Sunshine Policy” of the ROK President Kim Dae Jung and a policy turnaround by Kim Jong Il.
Nevertheless, it does not mean that obstructing factors which appeared in the late 1990s have completely vanished. There is still the possibility of return towards the old situation. In order to encourage the current momentum to steadily move in a favorable direction, I would like to offer a suggestion named the “Triple Jump Ten-year Plan.”
The first step is the improvement of bilateral relations (2001-2003).
During this period, mainly bilateral political issues would be solved and bilateral economic relations would be promoted. For example, the normalization of diplomatic relation between Japan and the DPRK, the completion of the Japan-Russia Peace Treaty, and the normalization of diplomatic relation between the US and the DPRK are political issues to be resolved. The ROL is expected to act as a mediator to the improvement of Japan-DPRK and US-DPRK relations. Although the North-South Korea relationship would be most active in terms of economic ties, China and Japan should also make considerable efforts.
The second step is the establishment of a framework for a system of cooperation in Northeast Asia (2004-1006).
Meeting between leaders of China, Japan and the ROK, such as the breakfast meeting held in the Philippines in November 1999, should be transformed to a Northeast Asian summit meeting, which would have a meeting annually during the APEC summit meeting. At the same time, an economic ministerial meeting should be held. These would be institutionalized. When important issues need to be discussed, a special meeting should be held to make decisions. Feasibility studies in various fields would be conducted, and plans would be formed. The Northeast Asia Development Bank would be established. Since Japanese yen loans to the DPRK have ripple effects in the whole region, they should be conducted through this bank.
The third step is the start of full economic cooperation in Northeast Asia (2007-1010).
Based on the achievements at the first and second steps, comprehensive improvement in the region, such as the Tumen River area development, international roads and international railways, would be completed. A new mechanism combining international cooperation and market economy theory would be established through newly created international industrial policy.
A new security framework should be created as economic cooperation makes progress. During the last six months, strategic aspects in this region have shown signs of great changes: from the US, Japan and the ROK versus China + the DPRK to the US and Japan + the ROK versus China, the DPRK and Russia. It is desired that a system of cooperation among the six countries: the US, China, Japan, Russia, the ROK and the DPRK is established by the response to these signs not with a cold war mind but a cooperating mind. If these countries make serious efforts to do this, it would be realized within 10 years.
[Translated by ERINA]