On November 28, 2016, the 4th China-ROK Diplomacy Forum, under the theme of “Strengthening Exchanges and Enhancing Mutual Trust” was held in Yangzhou. The forum was jointly held by the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (ROK), organized by China Public Diplomacy Association and the Korea Foundation, and co-organized by Yangzhou Municipal People’s Government and Yangzhou Public Diplomacy Association. Assistant Foreign Minister Qian Hongshan, Vice President of China Public Diplomacy Association Lv Fengding, Ambassador for Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROK Cho Hyun-dong, President of the Korean Foundation Lee Sihyung and other guests were present and delivered speeches. Around 200 people attended the forum, including representatives from the two countries’ governments, think tanks and media.
Assistant Foreign Minister Qian Hongshan pointed out in his speech at the opening ceremony that China and the ROK enjoy time-honored friendship and stories about exchanges and mutual learning between the two peoples are widely spread. The memorial hall of Choe Chiwon, a famous poet who traveled to China in the Silla Dynasty, is located in Yangzhou, which is a witness to the history of friendly exchanges between the two countries. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the ROK 24 years ago, bilateral relations have achieved leapfrog development and yielded fruitful results. Now the two countries have established a strategic cooperative partnership. Against the current backdrop of sluggish economic growth around the world and frequent occurrence of international and regional issues, China-ROK cooperation goes beyond bilateral level and is endowed with more importance. However, recently, because of the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system, China-ROK relations face severe challenges that are rarely seen since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations. It is hoped that both countries can always bear in mind the general direction of promoting friendly cooperation between the two countries, unswervingly stick to the general principle of bringing benefits to both countries and peoples and contributing to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and regional prosperity and development, unite people of insight from all walks of life from both countries and work together for long-term and sound development of China-ROK relations. Next year will witness the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the ROK. It is hoped that the forum this time could put forward suggestions on boosting people-to-people and cultural exchanges and mutual understanding between both peoples and make positive contribution to the further development of China-ROK relations.
Ambassador for Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROK Cho Hyun-dong stated that since the ROK and China established diplomatic relations 24 years ago, bilateral relations have obtained leap-forward progress, laying a sound foundation for people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, and it is believed that ROK-China strategic partnership will continue to develop. Meanwhile, as the two countries are required to jointly resolve many common external challenges, public diplomacy based on friendship between the two peoples attracts tremendous attention. The development of ROK-China relations is an irresistible trend. It is hoped that this forum can explore and discuss joint solutions to the challenges, ensure the mutual trust and friendship between the two countries, and contribute to the further development of bilateral relations.
President of the Korean Foundation Lee Sihyung expressed that Yangzhou and the ROK share a special cultural connection. Choe Chiwon and Yangzhou have become symbols of public diplomacy between the two countries. Now as ROK-China relations face difficulties, it is more necessary to enhance mutual trust between the two peoples. Personnel and academic exchanges between the two countries should be expanded instead of being reduced or cut down. It is hoped that constructive advice can be presented at this forum.
Host of the opening ceremony and Vice President of China Public Diplomacy Association Lv Fengding elaborated in detail the schedule and agendas of this forum to the guests. Chairman of Yangzhou Municipal Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Hong Jinhua delivered a welcoming speech to attending Chinese and ROK guests.
On the same day, experts from both countries carried out in-depth discussions and exchanges on China-ROK youth exchanges, economic and trade cooperation, cultural exchanges and other aspects. They also proposed valuable opinions and advice on specific subjects including the shared responsibilities for cultural inheritance and exchanges of both young people, enhancing bilateral cooperation in economy and trade to cope with new challenges brought by the Asian economy, and complementary advantages in both cultural industries and innovation. A white paper on the forum results will be released after its conclusion. At the China-ROK media roundtable meeting held on November 27, representatives from both sides had dialogues on public opinion exchanges and media responsibilities over sensitive issues between China and the ROK.
Both countries take turns to host the annual China-ROK Public Diplomacy Forum since its establishment in 2013. Through this platform, the two countries continuously strengthen communication and exchanges in such fields as economy and trade, culture, media, and youth, making positive contributions to promoting mutual understanding and cooperation between both countries as well as enhancing the connection between the two peoples.
(This article is published on the official website of Chinese Foreign Ministry)