STANFORD, California – Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) will convene a Track II dialogue of academic experts from Asia, the United States and Europe to discuss the issues of wartime history that continue to impact relations in the region. The dialogue, “Wartime History Issues in Asia: Pathways to Reconciliation,” is being held on May 11-13 on a closed-door and confidential basis with the goal of offering practical ideas to help resolve tensions surrounding those issues. Shorenstein APARC has been a leader in academic research on the formation of wartime historical memory through its Divided Memories and Reconciliation project, including a ground breaking comparative study of the treatment of the war in the high school history textbooks of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Taiwan and the United States.
The core participants in this dialogue will be scholars from China, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States, along with Stanford University scholars. Most of these participants have significant experience in previous efforts to foster dialogue and reconciliation on wartime history issues. In addition, select experts on the European experience in dealing with wartime historical memory will contribute.
The dialogue takes place under the co-sponsorship of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS), based in Seoul. TCS is an international organization established by the governments of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in 2011 to promote peace and prosperity among the three countries. Through various initiatives, the TCS strives to serve as a vital hub for cooperation and integration in Northeast Asia.
TCS representatives will attend the dialogue as observers; any expression of opinions will be in their personal capacities. It is expected that the outcome of this dialogue will include a set of forward-looking recommendations to civil society, researchers, and governments. TCS may adopt them for consideration by the governments of China, Japan and the ROK.
“It is my sincere hope that through this joint scholarly endeavor, TCS will be provided with the necessary direction and guidance to follow-up on bilateral efforts at historical dialogue over the past years,” Mr. Iwatani Shigeo, Secretary-General of TCS said in his letter of invitation. “I look forward to your insight and wisdom on ways to promote peace and reconciliation in this region.”
The Stanford dialogue could launch a new effort to resolve wartime history issues in the region. “Our further hope is that this will be an ongoing process, building on previous efforts at bilateral dialogue on history issues that will go beyond this initial meeting,” Shorenstein APARC Director Professor Gi-Wook Shin said in his invitation to participants.