In order to implement the decisions of the Trilateral Summit Meeting between the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the People’s Republic of China, and following the hosting of the Trilateral Youth Summit by Japan and China in 2016 and 2017, respectively, the 2018 Trilateral Youth Summit was successfully held and hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea and the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat. According to convention, the three countries elected ten student representatives to participate in the Summit.
At the opening ceremony of the summit, An Sulin, Foreign Ministry official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, and Li Zhongxian, Secretary-General of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat, delivered speeches. An Sulin expressed his sincere hope for the student delegates’ active participation in the summit and his best wishes for a successful convening of the summit. Li Zhongxian pointed out that the three countries should seek common ground even as the countries’ differences exist, confront those differences, and actively expand the breadth and depth of trilateral cooperation.
Before the formal meetings began, the organizers arranged a number of lectures concerning the purpose and function of the Trilateral Secretariat, explaining the rules of procedure, providing academic guidance, and in addition providing some thematic lectures. These lectures were rich and detailed, giving the lecturers and the delegates the opportunity for active interactions and deep exchange, which laid a good foundation for the smooth progress of the conference.
During the six-day conference, a total of 30 students from Seoul National University, University of Tokyo, Peking University, and China Foreign Affairs University formed the Environmental, Economic, and Cultural Committees, each of which consisted of one chairman and nine representatives. In order to strengthen mutual exchange and cooperation and deepen the understanding of the other countries’ political positions and policies among all student representatives, the organizers required each committee to form the three parties of China, Japan, and Korea in groups of three, with each party including one South Korean, one Chinese, and one Japanese representative. In addition, the organizers also arranged venue guidance and other forms of support for the committees to ensure the smooth progress of conference.
The main topics discussed by the three committees were strengthening trilateral cooperation in solving problems of dust and environmental pollution; promoting the construction of the China-Japan-ROK FTA; and strengthening trilateral cooperation in the Olympic Games. Based on the above three issues, each committee organized two delegation meetings, five committee meetings, and the final trilateral simulation summit. Youth delegates delivered keynote speeches on behalf of their countries to express its positions and attitudes, conducted several rounds of core discussions and informal debates, and drafted and revised a joint statement.
The organizers also arranged a series of cultural exchange activities, including cross-cultural debates, a visit to the MBC WORLD TV theme park, and a visit to the DPRK-ROK demilitarized zone and exhibition hall. The themes of the cross-cultural debates were also rich and relevant to topics in everyday life such as, covering a part-time job, job hunting and employment, parent-child relationships, social ethics, travel, love, and marriage. The delegates chose their topics of interest and expressed their opinions, communicating in-depth, allowing for a better understanding of social life in neighboring countries. These visits not only provided an opportunity for delegates to appreciate Korean pop music and film culture, but also helped delegates have a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the history and current situation of the Korean Peninsula. Moreover, the organizers arranged for youth representatives to taste a variety of local Korean traditional foods, further deepening the understanding of Korean culture.
At the simulated summit, the Environmental, Economic, and Cultural Committees each gave presentations, and the leaders of the three committees read a unanimously adopted, formal joint statement. After the end of the simulation meeting, the Japanese delegations’ instructor, Ms. Kubo, commented on the performance of the three committees and highly praised the efforts of youth representatives to further promote trilateral cooperation.
On the afternoon of August 31st, Ms. Han Sujing from the Trilateral Secretariat, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, and all youth representatives of the Summit attended the closing ceremony. At the closing ceremony, the Secretariat presented a wonderful retrospective video and the chairmen of the delegations of the three countries delivered closing speeches. Subsequently, representatives of all delegates received their certificates. The Summit also issued the Summit Achievement Award and the Best Delegation of the Summit Award.
The event gave the youths of the three countries an opportunity to have an immersive experience in the form of an international multilateral conference, promoting the thinking of the youth representatives on trilateral cooperation and the deep friendship among all youth representatives of the three countries. A total of four students from CFAU attended the summit, where they showed a high-level professionalism and a spirited outlook.