China, Japan and the ROK are close neighbors, separated merely by a strip of waters. The three countries enjoy geographic proximity, cultural affinity and time-honored friendship. Since the beginning of the 21st century, exchanges and cooperation among China, Japan and the ROK have become more frequent and ever closer, delivering tangible benefits to the peoples of the three countries.
In 1999, the leaders of China, Japan and the ROK joined in a breakfast meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Plus Three (10+3) Summit in the Philippines, which marked the beginning of the trilateral cooperation process. In 2008, the leaders of the three countries met for the first time outside the 10+3 framework, taking trilateral cooperation into a new phase.
After more than ten years of development of the cooperation, the three countries have instituted an increasingly mature trilateral dialogue mechanism, steadily moved forward cooperation in various fields, and deepened mutual understanding and mutual trust. The three countries have established a future-oriented comprehensive cooperative partnership, conducted ever closer economic cooperation and vibrant people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and further enhanced communication and coordination in regional and international affairs. The trilateral cooperation not only provides an important platform for China, Japan and the ROK to enhance good-neighborliness and friendship and expand common interests, but also constitutes an important part of East Asia cooperation.
As the coordinator for this year's trilateral cooperation, China will host the Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting among China, Japan and the ROK. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, the China-Japan Year of Friendly Exchanges, the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the ROK, and the Year of China-ROK Friendly Exchanges. On this auspicious occasion, we publish this handbook to review the history of trilateral friendly exchanges, showcase the achievements of trilateral practical cooperation and envision the broad prospects of tripartite relations.