In his speech at the 14th Jeju Forum, former Austrian President Heinz Fischer said that the “America First” policy of the current US government runs counter to the experience we have gained from the past developments in Europe. Countries should cooperate in the future, not confrontation.
The Jeju Forum was held in Jeju Island, South Korea from 29th to 31st. Experts and scholars from different countries participated in the dialogue and discussed how to maintain regional peace and prosperity. Many participants expressed their concern about the current unilateralism and bullying practices.
Fischer criticized the unilateralist practices of the US government, such as withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. He called on the United States to respect the consensus and current order that the international community has reached. “Everyone needs to do their utmost to maintain the widely recognized international treaty system. The international community can only succeed in finding a balanced solution that satisfies different interests if international agreements are trusted and respected.”
Yukio Hatoyama, former Japanese Prime Minister said that some countries only care about their own interests but they need to cooperate with others to survive.
The participating scholars generally believe that the world is developing in a multi-polar direction, and countries need to adhere to the principle of multilateralism and regional cooperation.
“I firmly believe that we must continue to work together to expand cooperation and promote regional integration in order to meet various challenges. Only based on multilateral cooperation can we achieve peace and prosperity in Asia,” said former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a speech made for the forum.
Regarding the China-US trade friction, the experts believe that trade friction is not good for China, the United States and the rest of the world.
“Adding tariffs and cutting the tie with the dynamic Chinese economy will make the US economy increasingly uncompetitive. The trade war will cause losses to both the Chinese and American economies, but in the long run, the US economy will suffer more,” said British scholar Martin Jacques.
In the sub-forum with the theme “US-China Trade Friction: Development and Solution”, Chinese, American, and Japanese experts expressed different views on some issues, but the consensus is that the world needs a rules-based international trading system, and the bullying practices of the United States in trade have been very unpopular.
“We all believe that the US government is wrong,” said Chen Wenling, chief economist of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. She said that the China-US trade friction enables the world to see that the US did not obey the rule and lost its credibility.
Jacques and Chen Wenling share the same views. He said that the United States has provoked economic and trade frictions because the United States cannot accept its own decline and wants to stop China’s rise. What we need to worry about is not China, but the United States.
At another sub-forum, American scholars suggested that since the 1970s, East Asian countries have reduced the number of wars and the intensity of conflict. Zhang Weiwei, dean of the China Institute of Fudan University in China, responded that the important reason for the reduced conflicts is China’s peaceful rise. The rise of China since the late 1970s made China the largest trading partner of its Asian neighbors, driving the economic development in the entire Asian region.
“In the future, China will adhere to the basic national policy of opening-up, promote all-round opening-up. As a responsible big country and an important member of Asia, China will remain to be an active and open country, and make its contribution to world peace and prosperity,” said Wang Guoqing, vice chairman of the China Foundation of Human Rights Development.