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Education ministers from South Korea, Japan and China meet for first time

AP, Kyodo

South Korea, Japan and China on Saturday held the first three-way meeting between the education ministers from their countries who are often at odds over how their shared wartime pasts are portrayed in textbooks.

History education was not on the agenda during the talks. The ministers did agree, though, to hold gatherings annually and expand student exchanges and partnership programs between universities as well as elementary, middle and high schools.

The second trilateral meeting will be held in Japan next year and the third in China in 2018, according to South Korea’s Education Ministry.

Further discussions are needed before issues concerning history can be taken up in the future, said Yoo Jiwan, a South Korean ministry official. South Korean Education Minister Lee Joon-sik said the trilateral meetings between the Northeast Asian neighbors will “plant the seeds of peace.”

“I am confident that exchanges of children, teachers and governments on education will contribute to peace in Asia and the world,” said Japanese education minister Hiroshi Hase at the beginning of the meeting.

The countries have struggled to settle disputes stemming from Japan’s colonial rule over Korea in the early 20th century and its wartime aggression against China. School books have often been at the center of such arguments.

  • Liars N. Fools

    Congratulations on meeting. An increase in flows of people between and among the three would have a salutary effect since flows of people mean the strengthening of perception and understanding. /百聞は一見に如ず.

  • Liars N. Fools

    Congratulations on meeting. An increase in flows of people between and among the three would have a salutary effect since flows of people mean the strengthening of perception and understanding. /百聞は一見に如ず.

  • boonteetan

    Most unfortunate that history curriculum is not included. One would think Chinese Education Minister could make this the right time to persuade Japanese counterpart to have a more objective rather subjective history text.

  • kyushuphil

    OK, let’s get started.

    Ministers agreed “to hold gatherings annually and expand student exchanges and partnership programs between universities as well as elementary, middle and high schools.”
    Do it. Have groups of students in each classroom — in Japan, Korea, and China — have each student write an introductory essay of how one sees oneself in one’s larger culture. Essays would all be in English (though peppered with apt key voacb also explained from one’s culture). So students will have time to rewrite with help from English instructors. Revised essays will also quote, directly or indirectly, to one’s fellow students in the same room, as all will spend some time reading and borrowing from each other.
    All in the three Asian countries inhabit some mix of cultures. Some things old (including legacies of novels, landscapes, poems, films, food) and much more from the new modernity (consumer products as well as various forms of landscape, transport, clothing, food, and interior design).
    Do it. Open imaginations with essaying skills. Open connections when first rounds of essays go to the groups in the neighboring countries, where students read, discuss, and begin next rounds of engagement.