Abe joins gala by Chi­nese em­bassy

Ja­panese leader is first in 15 years to per­son­ally mark PRC found­ing, nor­mal­iza­tion of re­la­tions

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By CAI HONG in Tokyo and AN BAIJIE in Beijing

In a rare move, Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe showed up and said “good evening” in Chi­nese at the Chi­nese em­bassy’s gala mark­ing the 68th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China on Thurs­day in Tokyo.

Abe told a full house of nearly 2,000 peo­ple that he will work hard to make the tri­lat­eral sum­mit meet­ing for lead­ers of China, Ja­pan and the Repub­lic of Korea pos­si­ble in Ja­pan this year to im­prove his coun­try’s re­la­tions with Beijing.

Thurs­day’s event also was for ob­serv­ing the 45th an­niver­sary of the nor­mal­iza­tion of diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween China and Ja­pan on Fri­day.

Abe, the first Ja­panese prime min­is­ter to at­tend such a cer­e­mony in 15 years, was ac­com­pa­nied by other Ja­panese of­fi­cials and politi­cians, such as For­eign Min­is­ter Taro Kono and the rul­ing Lib­eral Demo­cratic Party’s sec­re­tary­gen­eral, Toshi­hiro Nikai.

Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to Ja­pan Cheng Yonghua said China at­taches great im­por­tance to its re­la­tion­ship with Ja­pan, per­sis­tently ap­peal­ing to push the ties for­ward on the ba­sis of four po­lit­i­cal doc­u­ments and the con­sen­sus on im­prov­ing the ties.

The four doc­u­ments in­clude the China-Ja­pan Joint State­ment signed in 1972, the China-Ja­pan Treaty of Peace and Friend­ship of 1978, the China-Ja­pan Joint Dec­la­ra­tion of 1998 and a joint state­ment on ad­vanc­ing strate­gic and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tions in a com­pre­hen­sive way that was signed in 2008.

He said the two coun­tries need to care­fully main­tain the po­lit­i­cal foun­da­tion for their re­la­tions. The China-Ja­pan re­la­tion­ship is im­prov­ing, though many com­pli­cated and sen­si­tive is­sues re­main, he said.

The two coun­tries should take con­crete ac­tions to im­ple­ment the con­sen­sus that they are part­ners that do not pose a threat to each other. They need to try to build po­lit­i­cal and strate­gic trust.

Ja­panese Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Yoshi­masa Hayashi said he took Abe’s pres­ence at the event as a pos­i­tive sig­nal for bi­lat­eral ties.

Gao Hong, a Ja­pan ex­pert at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, agreed that Abe’s will­ing­ness to par­tic­i­pate sent a good mes­sage. “As Abe dis­solved the Lower House of Ja­pan’s par­lia­ment on Thurs­day to call a snap elec­tion in Oc­to­ber, he wants to build good re­la­tions with Ja­pan’s neigh­bors,” the scholar said. “Abe may use the pos­i­tive diplo­matic ap­proach to help his elec­tion cam­paign.”

In May, the Abe ad­min­is­tra­tion said Ja­pan is will­ing to co­op­er­ate with China on Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and other busi­ness projects, which China has wel­comed, Gao said.

Mi­chio Ito, gen­eral man­ager of the China Busi­ness Of­fice of Tak­e­naka Corp, was glad that the Ja­panese prime min­is­ter came to the Chi­nese em­bassy’s cel­e­bra­tion, which he be­lieved would help im­prove ties.


Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to Ja­pan Cheng Yonghua (left) shakes hands with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Thurs­day.

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