Interview: Top-down, bottom-up approaches required to intensify trio-cooperation in Northeast Asia: TCS chief

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-14 19:56:55|Editor: mmm
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SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Both top-down and bottom-up approaches are required to intensify regional cooperation among China, South Korea and Japan in Northeast Asia, as they can create synergy and deepen understanding toward each other in the region, the chief of an international group has said.

"Cooperation among the three Northeast Asian countries will have a significant influence on the East Asian community given the scale of population and trade, and economic potentials," Secretary-General Lee Jong-heon of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Lee said the trilateral cooperation among China, South Korea and Japan requires a grand political vision, noting that political leadership would be very significant to realize the trilateral cooperation.

The TCS chief noted that exchanges among people of the three countries must lead to a so-called "cultural dialogue" to deepen understanding toward each other.

The top-down approach through the political leadership and the bottom-up approach through the culture dialogue can create synergy in the trilateral cooperation, providing impetus to each approach, Lee said.

The TCS is an international organization, which was launched in September 2011 and headquartered in Seoul with an aim to promote peace and common prosperity among China, South Korea and Japan.

"Support and interest by people of the three countries will positively affect the trilateral cooperation in a government level," Lee said, noting that the trilateral cooperation contributes to regional peace, stability and prosperity.

The TCS head said Northeast Asia can learn from the cooperation among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"The ASEAN cooperation in Southeast Asia and the (South) Korea-China-Japan cooperation in Northeast Asia cannot help but meet in the one ocean of East Asia in the end, so efforts in the regions cannot be separated," said Lee.

"The ASEAN Plus Three (APT) summit is a good way to discuss cooperation between the ASEAN members and the three Northeast Asian countries," said the TCS head.

The 21st ASEAN-China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) leaders' meeting is scheduled to be held Thursday in Singapore.

Lee said, to upgrade the trilateral cooperation to a higher level, China, South Korea and Japan should strengthen economic cooperation through the trilateral free trade agreement (FTA), adding that the trilateral FTA should be seen from the perspective of regional economic integration efforts.

He noted that the three Northeast Asian countries should fight against global protectionist moves, which he called undesirable as the trade protectionism reduces global trade and makes all nations end up as losers.

The TCS chief called on China, South Korea and Japan to speak with one voice against the protectionism as the three countries are among the biggest beneficiaries of free trade.