China, Ja­pan must eye shared des­tiny

China Daily (USA) - - VIEWS -

Editor’s note: Tang Ji­ax­uan, pres­i­dent of China-Ja­pan Friend­ship As­so­ci­a­tion, de­liv­ered a key­note speech at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the two-day 12th Bei­jing-Tokyo Fo­rum which be­gan in Tokyo on Tues­day. Ex­cerpts trans­lated from the Chi­nese ver­sion of the speech fol­low:

Iam greatly pleased to at­tend the 12th Bei­jingTokyo Fo­rum. And I am very glad to meet old friends here in Tokyo. Un­der the plan­ning of both coun­tries, the fo­rum has en­tered its sec­ond decade of newde­vel­op­ment. The theme of this fo­rum is “Sino-Ja­panese Co­op­er­a­tion for Asian and Global Peace and Devel­op­ment”, a theme that car­ries pro­found con­no­ta­tions. As two im­por­tant coun­tries in Asia and the world, the warm­ing and cool­ing of Sino-Ja­panese re­la­tions are re­lated to re­gional and global peace and devel­op­ment. A longterm, healthy and sta­ble Sino-Ja­panese re­la­tion­ship is in the in­ter­est of both coun­tries and their peo­ples, and meets the ex­pec­ta­tion of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. China and Ja­pan should over­come the ex­ist­ing dif­fi­cul­ties as soon as pos­si­ble and co­op­er­ate to pur­sue a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial and win-win fu­ture of com­mon devel­op­ment, prosperity and sta­bil­ity in Asia and the world.

The in­ter­na­tional sit­u­a­tion is un­der­go­ing pro­found changes, with deep­en­ing glob­al­iza­tion, evolv­ing in­ter­na­tional pat­tern and or­der, boom­ing re­gional co­op­er­a­tion in Asia and con­tin­u­ing ad­vance­ment of in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity ef­forts world­wide. The world econ­omy, too, is un­der­go­ing changes, and geopo­lit­i­cal crises have bro­ken out fre­quently, as re­flected by the in­tense eco­nomic and so­cial con­tra­dic­tions in some coun­tries, rag­ing tur­bu­lences and con­flicts in some re­gions, and un­cer­tain­ties over how to en­sure sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, fight ter­ror­ism, se­cure en­ergy, com­bat cli­mate change and deal with the refugee cri­sis. Given these facts, China and Ja­pan should shoul­der more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to main­tain world peace and devel­op­ment.

In re­cent years, Sino-Ja­panese re­la­tions have suf­fered one set­back af­ter an­other be­cause of cer­tain fac­tors. This has af­fected an oth­er­wise good bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion tra­di­tion, as well as ham­pered the ef­forts to in­te­grate East Asian economies, and main­tain re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity. China and Ja­pan will ben­e­fit from rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and suf­fer from con­flicts. The in­flu­ence of cer­tain neg­a­tive de­vel­op­ments in Si­noJa­panese ties have gone beyond the bi­lat­eral scope and per­haps spread to the whole re­gion and the rest of the world. Var­i­ous cir­cles in both coun­tries should de­velop bet­ter aware­ness of each other’s con­cerns. Here, I want to share with you some ofmy opin­ions on how to de­velop Sino-Ja­panese re­la­tions based onmy years of ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing in this field.

To de­velop bi­lat­eral ties, China and Ja­pan should abide by the con­sen­suses reached be­tween them to main­tain the po­lit­i­cal foun­da­tion of bi­lat­eral ties. There are both his­tor­i­cal feuds and cur­rent con­flicts of in­ter­ests and dis­putes be­tween China and Ja­pan, and their set­tle­ment re­mains par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive. So the two coun­tries should try to reach agree­ments, fo­cus on the fun­da­men­tal in­ter­ests of their coun­tries and peo­ples, and steer the devel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral ties in a peace­ful and co­op­er­a­tive di­rec­tion. China and Ja­pan have signed four po­lit­i­cal doc­u­ments, which have helped for­mu­late the “rules” for the devel­op­ment of ties. We should deal with each other ac­cord­ing to these “rules” to en­sure bi­lat­eral ties do not de­rail.

At his meet­ing with Ja­panese PrimeMin­is­ter Shinzo Abe on the side­lines of the G20Hangzhou Sum­mit ear­lier this month, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping stressed that the four po­lit­i­cal doc­u­ments are the great­est sta­bi­liz­ing fac­tors of Sino-Ja­panese ties, while the four­point con­sen­suses reached be­tween the two sides at the end of 2014 re­main a “safety valve” for im­prov­ing ties. So, both coun­tries should abide by the rel­e­vant prin­ci­ples and con­sen­suses, bet­ter man­age their old prob­lems and pre­vent the emer­gence of new ones.

To im­prove bi­lat­eral ties, China and Ja­pan should cul­ti­vate cor­rect per­cep­tions and en­gage in peace­ful and fruit­ful in­ter­ac­tions. Cor­rect per­cep­tion will lead to cor­rect ac­tions. Some are wor­ried that a ris­ing China will even­tu­ally pur­sue hege­mony. This is an un­nec­es­sary con­cern. China’s con­cept of build­ing a “new­type of ma­jor coun­try re­la­tion­ship” and its diplo­matic idea of “amity, sin­cer­ity, rec­i­proc­ity and tol­er­ance” are the fruits of its con­sis­tent ef­forts to pur­sue peace­ful devel­op­ment and build good­neigh­borly and friendly re­la­tions with coun­tries in the re­gion.

China’s com­mit­ment to re­duc­ing emis­sions to help fight cli­mate change and its par­tic­i­pa­tion in in­ter­na­tional peace­keep­ing re­flect its de­ter­mi­na­tion to in­te­grate it­self with the in­ter­na­tional sys­tem and un­der­take its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as a big coun­try. And its Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and ef­forts to es­tab­lish the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank re­flect that it pur­sues open, in­clu­sive, shared, mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial and win-win co­op­er­a­tion. China’s devel­op­ment has cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties for and ben­e­fited Asia and the world, in­stead of pos­ing a threat to them.

China at­taches great im­por­tance to ties with Ja­pan and has sin­cerely worked to im­prove bi­lat­eral ties. China’s rise will not squeeze the space for Ja­pan’s devel­op­ment and growth; in­stead, it will con­tin­u­ously bring Ja­pan cer­tain devel­op­ment div­i­dends. It is hoped Ja­pan would viewChina’s devel­op­ment in the right per­spec­tive and have the con­fi­dence to pur­sue com­mon devel­op­ment with China, ful­fill­ing the prom­ise made by both coun­tries that “they mu­tu­ally see each other as co­op­er­a­tive part­ners and do not mu­tu­ally pose a threat” in con­crete poli­cies and ac­tions.

To im­prove bi­lat­eral ties, China and Ja­pan should in­herit tra­di­tions and high­light the ben­e­fits of friend­ship. The com­mit­ment to main­tain friend­ship be­tween Chi­nese and Ja­panese peo­ple from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion and the prom­ise that the two sides will never go to war are the start­ing point of Si­noJa­panese re­la­tions and the ba­sis of friend­ship. China and Ja­pan should never aban­don this con­cept of friend­ship. Next year marks the 45th an­niver­sary of the nor­mal­iza­tion of diplo­matic ties be­tween China and Ja­pan, and 2018 marks the 40th an­niver­sary of the sign­ing of the Sino-Ja­panese Treaty of Peace and Friend­ship. We should use these im­por­tant oc­ca­sions to sta­bi­lize and im­prove bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and guide them in the right di­rec­tion.

Both coun­tries should adapt them­selves to the times, in­ject a newvi­tal­ity into re­la­tions, and try to re­al­ize mu­tual help, mu­tual trust and mu­tual un­der­stand­ing. China and Ja­pan set a good ex­am­ple of mu­tual help in the af­ter­math of the dev­as­tat­ing Wenchuan earth­quake in China in 2008 and the cat­a­strophic earth­quake in north­east Ja­pan and the en­su­ing tsunami in 2011. Such mu­tual as­sis­tance and mu­tual sup­port in the face of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters should be main­tained. Only by build­ing mu­tual trust, which is now des­per­ately needed, can the two coun­tries lay a foun­da­tion for their friend­ship to con­tinue from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. And to im­prove mu­tual un­der­stand­ing, they should con­duct can­did ex­changes and com­mu­ni­ca­tions and un­der­stand and re­spect each other’s core in­ter­ests and ma­jor con­cerns.

To de­velop bet­ter ties, China and Ja­pan should not only learn from his­tory but also look to the fu­ture. They should prop­erly man­age and han­dle their newand old prob­lems, and take ef­fec­tive mea­sures to pro­mote prag­matic ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion, in or­der to con­tin­u­ously im­prove bi­lat­eral ties.

First, both coun­tries should squarely face their his­to­ries. China and Ja­pan have ex­pe­ri­enced two mil­len­ni­ums of friendly ex­changes com­pared with a ri­valry of only a fewdecades. So, they should viewthe his­tory of their friendly ex­changes as a com­mon as­set and in­ten­sify friendly ex­changes. They should also learn lessons from his­tory and avoid tragedies. Both coun­tries should cher­ish the po­lit­i­cal courage and wis­dom of their lead­ers and value the devel­op­ment fruits of bi­lat­eral ties and work harder to cre­ate a brighter fu­ture.

Sec­ond, they should try to main­tain a peace­ful sea. Since China and Ja­pan are neigh­bors across the East China Sea, they should turn it into a field for bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in­stead of mak­ing it an arena for con­fronta­tion. Fre­quent con­flicts be­tween the two coun­tries over maritime is­sues have harmed bi­lat­eral ties. In the East China Sea, they should fo­cus on reach­ing a broader con­sen­sus and abide by the un­der­stand­ings and agree­ments al­ready reached to bet­ter han­dle crises through di­a­logue, avoid pos­si­ble con­flicts and en­sure maritime peace and sta­bil­ity. It is hoped Ja­pan would sup­port the ef­forts of di­rectly in­volved par­ties re­solv­ing their dis­putes with China in the South China Sea through peace­ful di­a­logue, and re­frain from in­ter­fer­ing in and hyp­ing up the is­sue.

Third, both coun­tries should deepen mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion. As the world’s sec­on­dand third-largest economies, China and Ja­pan should strengthen their co­op­er­a­tion and ful­fill their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of par­tic­i­pat­ing in and push­ing for­ward re­gional and global devel­op­ment.

At the bi­lat­eral level, they should re­al­ize the full co­op­er­a­tion po­ten­tial in fields such as en­ergy sav­ing, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, fi­nance, so­cial se­cu­rity, health­care and high-tech. At the re­gional level, they should fo­cus on forg­ing an Asian com­mu­nity of shared des­tiny, ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in free trade and pro­mote in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity and in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, as well as avoid vi­cious com­pe­ti­tion. At the in­ter­na­tional level, they should ex­pand their ar­eas of com­mon in­ter­ests on is­sues such as com­bat­ing cli­mate change, se­cur­ing en­ergy and fight­ing ter­ror­ism, and set a good ex­am­ple for other coun­tries to fol­low.

Fourth, both coun­tries should in­crease and ex­pand peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes. The sense of mu­tual es­trange­ment be­tween Chi­nese and Ja­panese peo­ple at present is wor­ri­some. There­fore, the two coun­tries should cre­ate con­di­tions to re­al­ize the huge po­ten­tial of peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes. They should also in­crease ex­changes be­tween their youths and grassroots peo­ple, so that more peo­ple en­gage in de­vel­op­ing bet­ter ties and strength­en­ing the so­cial foun­da­tion of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.


Tang Ji­ax­uan

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