Theme III: Peace in Europe and East Asia - 中欧社会论坛 - China Europa Forum

Theme III: Peace in Europe and East Asia

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Theme III: Peace in Europe and East Asia

The strategic situation in East Asia is currently unpredictable and the voices of war and peace can be heard everywhere. The last 60 years have proven that the EU has not only made a huge contribution to a reunified and peaceful continent, but also offered new modes of thinking and governance for lasting peace all over the world. To what extent could the European experience or the wisdom behind it be applied to the construction of the peace in East Asia? These were the focuses of this session.

1. The wisdom behind the construction of European peace–enhancement of mutual trust is very important

How was peace constructed in Europe? Prof Paul Trân Van Thinh, former Ambassador of the EU to the World Trade Organization, believed that Europe’s transition from war to peace was irreversible and that after five centuries of wars and conflicts reconciliation and peace were greatly cherished. Where did the wisdom of the European experience come from? Mr Rosenberger said that one of the most important constituent elements of wisdom was trust. Dr ZHANG Baohui of Lingnan University agreed and considered that the shift of military plans towards transparency could generate mutual trust between each other. Prof Trân also pointed out that civil society should play an important role in the realisation of the great cause of peace. What lessons could the European experience offer to the Sino-Japanese relations after the Second World War? Dr ZHANG Baohui said that the models of development in East Asia and Europe were different; after the Second World War Europe shifted from a multi-polar pattern to a unified pattern, while Asia was now in the state of a multi-polar pattern. He said that a sense of insecurity went hand in hand with competition in security and defence, weakening intergovernmental cooperation and increasing mistrust between countries, and that therefore the establishment of a transnational cooperation framework was highly difficult in East Asia.

2. Territorial disputes in Asia cannot be ignored, the United States plays an important role in Asia

What are the main factors affecting the peace process after the Second World War? Dr ZHANG Baohui added that differences in political systems also hindered mutual trust between China and Japan, and that the reason why problems in Asia were trickier was because there were many unresolved territorial issues. How to define the role of the United States? Prof Takanori Kitamura of the Chinese University of Hong Kong believed that the mentality of the United States had changed greatly in the past 10 years and that, at least from a constructive point of view, they would play a positive role in Asia’s future.

3. Peace should be taken as the universal value to promote peace talks

Prof Wang Jianwei of University of Macau put forward the idea that common factors affecting the stability of Europe and East Asia included the ability to achieve historic reconciliation, the role of foreign powers and the internal development of each country. Dr CHEN Yan, Executive President of the China-Europa Forum, considered that Europe had a common value and a democratic political system after the Second World War, which was a solid foundation for talking about peace and integration. Peace should be taken as one of the universal values and only when the negotiation framework was based on acknowledgement of those values could the different voices slowly reach an agreement.

4. The resistance to Asian integration is strong–it is still in the stage of checks and balances

Where did the resistance to Asian integration come from? Prof Trân believed that the Asian countries should make peace by themselves and that the United States or the European countries should not interfere. In addition, solid economic foundation, education, research and civil society participation were very important in peace-building and peace-keeping. Prof Takanori Kitamura proceeded with the topic and added that if there were a framework of Asian integration, the rise of China was a very important factor. If, with the enhancement of national strength, China tended to solve problems independently, then the other Asian countries could not accept this. Dr ZHANG Baohui said that economic growth and the change in attitudes made the other Asian countries begin to distrust China, and cooperation became more difficult.

5. What kind of common framework should East Asia establish?

Prof Takanori Kitamura responded that there was no definitive answer at present, but he believed that it was possible to start from the reality and attempt to establish regional cooperation, from the easy to the difficult, and that it was a process of cooperation and integration. Mr Rosenberger reminded the meeting that the framework established in Europe was a multi-level one including economy, security and defence where conferences, organizations, etc., and mutual trust were constantly enhanced.

6. Sino-Japanese reconciliation needs further efforts–where there is a framework, there is restriction

How did Japan look at the history of aggression? Prof Takanori Kitamura believed that education was very important and that both China and Japan should make improvements in the Japanese history textbook issue and China’s patriotic education. Only in the face of history could the future be moved forward. Prof Wang Jianwei believed that many countries in Western Europe really wanted the framework that was beyond the sovereignty and borders but that countries in East Asia had yet to reach that level. Dr ZHANG Baohui added that economically China was very willing to go beyond sovereignty restrictions and go to internationalisation; politically, China still placed emphasis on sovereignty.