2020-03-31
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Modern China
現代中國


Economic pressure materializes China-Japan-South Korea ice-breaking
經濟壓力促成中日韓破冰


In modern history, The East Asian "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" has always been cycles of separations and reunions. The relations between China, Japan and South Korea have been frozen for three years. Thawing began in the summit that ended yesterday. Faced with economic pressure and nuclear threat from North Korea, the three countries were eventually willing to return to realistic realistic (adj)	現實的 benefits, temporarily putting historical grudges as well as territorial disputes aside to take the path of cooperation again. Their "reunion" is a good thing for regional economic development and stability. But it is still difficult to predict if it will be temperamental temperamental (adj) 反覆的 with the three stuck in century-old conflicts.



From 2008 to 2012, the three countries held a summit every year to discuss enhancements in cooperation, but after Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe took office, he tried to fall in line with the rightist power rightist power 右翼勢力 to consolidate consolidate (v) 鞏固 his authority and status, taking a hard stance on historical and territorial issues not hesitating to distort history and deny war and colonial rule crimes. He also "flexed military muscles" with swords unsheathed and bows drawn, which angered China and South Korea. The meetings came to an end while the relations among the three countries slumped.



Returning to realistic benefits in difficult times



The cold war took a turn recently with South Korea as the pushing hand trying hard to have the three-country summit held in Seoul. South Korean president Park Geun-hye had been going between China and Japan for this. At the same time, Abe also showed good will towards China and South Korea, meeting President Xi Jinping on two occasions while he did not pay respects at the Yasukuni Shrine. Earlier when Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi visited Japan, Abe even gave a letter to Xi through him, inviting Xi to visit his country. The sign of thawing is very clear.



After so many twists and turns twists and turns 迂迴曲折 , the three countries are willing to show good will. The main push came from the downward downward (adj) 向下的 pressure in their own economies. It is hoped that enhancements in cooperation of the three sides will add new drive to their economies. It is because if the China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Agreement much talked about can be realized, it will be of great positive meaning for their economic development.



Of the three countries, South Korea has the biggest worry. After advancing fast for several years, its economy could not keep up and weakened. The export figures for August fell by 15 per cent by year. It was the eighth straight month of fall, while its manufacturing sector also showed signs of contraction with enterprises hiring fewer people. Though interest rates had been cut twice this year, the economy showed no sign of pickup pickup (n) 好轉 . Faced with such difficulty, the country on the one hand wants to push the agreement and strengthen economic cooperation with China while wishing to resume utually beneficial relation with Japan. On the other hand, it joined the TPP led by the US, playing diplomatic balance among China, the US and Japan.



Japan similarly needs some economic "tonic". After Abe took office, he proposed the three arrows in an attempt to get rid of deflation deflation(n)通縮 and stimulate export while pushing reforms to promote business investment. But after the first two arrows were shot, economic recovery was still slow, even shrinking in the second quarter. To speed up economic growth, Abe puts hope in the Chinese and Korean markets, but historical issues become stumbling stones. To him, he achieved what he wanted with the passing of the security bills. It is now time to return to realistic benefits.



From separation to reunion, conflicts remain unresolved



China's economy is still in its developmental turning point turning point 轉折點 . The fifth plenary session that just closed set economic growth at below seven per cent. To keep the economy from going downhill under current domestic and overseas conditions, it needs closer cooperation with its two economically strong neighours. It can also break out of the US TPP siege.



Although the three countries are turning from "separation" to "reunion" based on actual economic benefits, historical and territorial disputes remain unresolved. If not properly handled, there may be unpredictable variables which in turn affect their cooperation. What is in the next chapter of this "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" remains unknown.

 

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