19th Tokyo-Beijing Forum - The Beijing Consensus

October 20, 2023

The 19th Tokyo-Beijing Forum was held in-person for the first time in four years on October 19-20, 2023, in Beijing, China. Roughly 100 experts from both Japan and China gathered at the forum to engage in frank, deep dialogue about a range of issues, from political diplomacy, nuclear proliferation, and national security, to economics, digital society, media, and youth engagement. The overall theme of this year's discussions was peace.

This year marks the anniversary of the Treat and Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, which was signed 45 years ago in an effort to establish the principles by which the two countries could cooperate in a peaceful, cordial fashion. Through this treaty, both countries promised to uphold the United Nations Charter and the principles of peace, and to peacefully resolve any difficulties that arise between them through dialogue.

However, the world is facing great difficulties today. The war in Ukraine is now in its 20th month, and the new conflict that has erupted between Israel and Palestine threatens to claim even more lives. Economic friction is threatening to further divide the world, and the threat of nuclear weapons actually being used is increasing anxiety across the planet.
The international community's ability to maintain peace is being sorely questioned, and it remains unclear whether Japan and China - both of which have a responsibility to both Asia and the world at large to bring about peace and prosperity - can actually work together and combine forces to deal with the current global situation. That is the immense challenge facing us as we celebrate our diplomatic milestone this year.

Over the past two days, we have engaged in serious discussion that resulted in the following two conclusions.

First, we agree that it is necessary for us to review the origins of the treaty and re-confirm its applicability in the modern day, in order to make it function in easing tensions in Asia and avoiding conflict in the region. Second, we agree to construct a peaceful, secure order in Asia and around the world, and to begin putting in every effort to realize that goal.

Achieving this will require that both countries work to re-launch a range of dialogues between various actors.

Organizations like ours that engage in private-sector dialogue have a special mission. When the relationship between our two countries encounters an obstacle, our role is to remain a step ahead of our governments and form the vanguard to take the first tentative steps towards creating the environment needed to produce a solution.

In order to fulfill that mission, those of us gathered here to engage in discussion at this venue have reached agreement on the following points.

  • We believe that now is the time to work towards peace and prosperity in this region because our governments accepted that responsibility and stipulated it in each of the four political documents signed by Japan and China since the normalization of relations between our countries. A majority of respondents from both countries in this year's public opinion survey believe that our governments should re-affirm the meaning of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, and that a new agreement is necessary in order for the Treaty to function as designed. Both countries need to respond to the public consensus by promoting more high-level interactions and resuming intergovernmental dialogue, while simultaneously strengthening the Treaty of Peace and Friendship and establishing a permanent framework for dialogue that enables the Treaty to be better implemented.

  • This year's public opinion survey showed that in both countries, half of the respondents are concerned about the possibility of a global nuclear war. We will cooperate in re-building nuclear regimes in East Asia and around the world, and will work to achieve nuclear non-proliferation. Our ultimate objective is to make every effort to bring the reality of our world closer to the ideal - a world free of nuclear weapons. We will carefully address concerns arising from the release of treated water into the ocean off Fukushima. We will also use this as an opportunity to begin engaging in regular discussions on the peaceful use of nuclear power.

  • We are concerned about the prolonged nature of the war in Ukraine, and that the conflict between Israel and Palestine is intensifying. We will continue to act in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter by respecting sovereign equality and territorial integrity, and by resolving disputes through peaceful means. We oppose any and all conflict escalation, and support all efforts to bring an end to hostilities through diplomatic negotiation and to reduce tensions through dialogue.

  • We share the belief that the world must not be further divided, and that we must build a sustainable, inclusive global economy. In order to increase cooperation between Japan and China, we must not think about every aspect of economics in terms of national security; what is needed is the wisdom to manage the risk of economic conflict, to rebuild trust, and to generate new business. The economies of Japan and China are complementary, and both countries share similar challenges in dealing with environmental issues, declining birthrates, aging populations, and declining potential growth rates. In order to cooperate, we should not require companies to take on unnecessary risks, but should rather respect corporate autonomy and increase the predictability of the regulations under which they operate. Achieving this will require not only intergovernmental dialogue but also dialogue between a variety of different actors, and by doing so, we can work towards creating new markets, respecting the rule of law, improving the increasingly international business environment, and the integration of the economies of East Asia.

  • Around the world, people are using AI and other digital technologies in an attempt to build a digital society and solve the social issues humanity faces, and we agree that there is the potential for reciprocity and cooperation between Japan and China. Our aim should be to build a digital society that contributes to human happiness and survival, but the increased use of generative AI is raising concerns about leaks of personal data and the spread of false information, which means that the world needs a shared system of governance that applies to the development of such technologies for business purposes. Through this year's discussions, we agree that common principles are needed to build the type of digital society we are aiming for, and agree to continue working towards achieving that end.

Based upon the aforementioned points, we are determined to expand our efforts to gain a fresh start for the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China as we commemorate the 45th anniversary of its signing, and are determined to work together to resolve various issues and achieve peace both in Asia and around the world.

October 20, 2023
China International Communications Group (CICG)
The Genron NPO

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