pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

Issues & Insights Vol. 06 – No. 11

Despite growing calls for three-way cooperation, relations among the United States, China, and Japan remain more triangular than trilateral. That is, they are the sum of bilateral relationships among the three countries rather than genuine three-way interaction. The failure to create a truly trilateral relationship has important consequences. Individually, each of the three countries has an extraordinary impact on regional and global developments; if they work together that influence is greatly magnified. More significantly, a refusal or inability to cooperate will have equally powerful consequences. In April 2006, the Pacific Forum convened a trilateral discussion among experts from the three countries to identify opportunities for and obstacles to better and deeper cooperation.