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Yes, but they need to overcome three hurdles: the burden of history, competing ambition to lead Asia and the deficit of strategic trust
Let me begin my essay by telling you a story. In 1996, then Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong was successful in convening the inaugural meeting of the leaders of Asia and Europe, in Bangkok.
The leaders agreed to establish the Asia-Europe Meeting. They also agreed to establish the Asia-Europe Foundation (Asef) to promote better mutual understanding between the peoples of the two regions.
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2020, with the headline ‘China and Japan: Will they ever reconcile?’. Print Edition | Subscribe