Meng Yueming, researcher at the Northeast Asia Institute of the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, in Global Times (December 16, 2020)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: goleiro35 / Shutterstock.com)
Covid-19 is a threat to not only human life but also economic growth, regional cooperation and effective global governance. China, Japan and South Korea initially established a similar approach to tackling the pandemic. Due to the arrival of winter and the colder climate, South Korea and Japan are now seeing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases. As such, building a closer anti-Covid-19 alliance in Northeast Asia is the best way forward.
As all three countries were relatively successful in the early stages of managing the pandemic, they established an agreement for business exchanges to continue. Trade and economic cooperation also saw a recovery, notably supported by the formal signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), allowing the three countries to establish bilateral tariff reduction deals for the first time.
The three countries should strengthen their coordination capabilities for controlling the spread of Covid-19 by employing thee following mechanisms:
First, the ‘business tracks” already in place are an effective means to maintain economic and trade cooperation and people exchanges. The arrangement was successfully maintained during a second wave of the virus in South Korea and should be kept up. Meanwhile, business cooperation models such as cross-border e-commerce, digital economy and video conferencing that adapt to the situation should also be enhanced.
Second, all three countries should continue to develop emergency response mechanisms, implement joint prevention and control measures, and strengthen the exchange of information. Cooperation in the fields of diagnosis and treatment programs, vaccine research and development should be maintained.
Finally, we will have to live with the virus for a long time before effective vaccines are deployed globally. China, Japan and South Korea, therefore, should conduct further joint prevention and control measures, share experiences, provide assistance, carry out scientific and technological research, and establish more regional public-health cooperation mechanisms.