Bei­jing-Tokyo ties de­serve brighter fu­ture

China Daily (USA) - - VIEWS -

Editor’s note: Jiang Jian­guo, min­is­ter of the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice, also de­liv­ers a speech at the Bei­jing-Tokyo fo­rum on Tues­day. Ex­cerpts trans­lated from the Chi­nese ver­sion of the speech fol­low:

The an­nual Bei­jingTokyo Fo­rum, which is in its 12th year, has be­come a rep­re­sen­ta­tive civil di­a­logue plat­form be­tween China and Ja­pan. It has helped strengthen friend­ship be­tween Chi­nese and Ja­panese peo­ples from var­i­ous walks and de­velop Sino-Ja­panese re­la­tions.

When Pres­i­den­tXi Jin­ping met with Ja­panese PrimeMin­is­ter Shinzo Abe on the side­lines of the G20 Sum­mit in­Hangzhou, East China’s Zhe­jiang province, ear­lier this month, he ex­plained China’s ba­sic stance on im­prov­ing bi­lat­eral ties. He said the two sides should shelve their dif­fer­ences and put bi­lat­eral ties on the right track.

Xi em­pha­sized that China’s stance is not in­flu­enced by ex­ter­nal dis­tur­bances, and is clear, unswerv­ing and con­stant. The 12th Bei­jing-Tokyo Fo­rum is be­ing held in Tokyo against this back­ground and un­der the theme of “Sino-Ja­panese Co­op­er­a­tion for Asian and Global Peace and Devel­op­ment”. The fo­rum is a plat­form for sin­cere and friendly di­a­logues be­tween me­dia out­lets, think tanks and en­ter­prises from the two sides in the quest to seek ways to im­prove China-Ja­pan re­la­tions.

To im­prove China-Ja­pan ties, I have four sug­ges­tions.

To be­gin with, the two coun­tries must pay at­ten­tion to di­rec­tion of the devel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral ties. Al­though the two coun­tries have fought wars, the main theme of bi­lat­eral ties re­mains peace, friend­ship and co­op­er­a­tion, which also meet peo­ple’s ex­pec­ta­tions and con­form to the trend of the times.

Good re­la­tions be­tween two big coun­tries such as China and Ja­pan, the world’s sec­ond- and third- largest economies, not only serve the in­ter­ests of the peo­ples in the two coun­tries, but also fa­cil­i­tate peace, sta­bil­ity and prosperity in the re­gion and beyond.

Sec­ond, we must strengthen our re­spec­tive sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity and be aware of the threats crises pose. In the 1970s, the lead­ers of the two coun­tries made the im­por­tant po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sion of nor­mal­iz­ing diplo­matic re­la­tions, in or­der to ad­vance mu­tual in­ter­est and open a new chap­ter in Sino-Ja­panese ties. We should shoul­der that his­tor­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity to forge ahead into the fu­ture.

In these dif­fi­cult times, we should learn from the older gen­er­a­tion’s po­lit­i­cal wis­dom and sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity, turn a cri­sis into op­por­tu­nity, and cre­ate con­di­tions for the healthy devel­op­ment of China-Ja­pan re­la­tions.

Third, we should high­light the pos­i­tive facets of bi­lat­eral ties while re­duc­ing the neg­a­tive fac­tors. The com­mon in­ter­ests and con­cerns of China and Ja­pan over­shadow their dif­fer­ences. Hence, the two coun­tries should pur­sue pos­i­tive poli­cies, main­tain po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic con­tacts, prop­erly han­dle key is­sues, strengthen ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion, cre­ate fa­vor­able public opin­ions for each other, deepen win-win co­op­er­a­tion and re­duce con­flicts and dif­fer­ences.

And fourth, the two sides should also man­age their old dif­fer­ences well and pre­vent new­prob­lems from emerg­ing. Some peo­ple in Ja­pan seem in­ter­ested in in­ter­fer­ing in the South China Sea is­sue even though Ja­pan has no stakes in it. We should foil their de­signs be­cause they want to cre­ate newd­if­fer­ences be­tween China and Ja­pan.

The two coun­tries should abide by the four con­sen­suses they have reached. They must use his­tory as a mir­ror, look to the fu­ture, seek com­mon points of in­ter­ests and shelve their dif­fer­ences, and pre­vent con­flicts.

Most of the peo­ple in the two coun­tries don’t have a fa­vor­able opin­ion about each other’s coun­tries, as the fo­rum or­ga­niz­ers’ lat­est poll shows. Friendly re­la­tions be­tween China and Ja­pan form the ba­sis of good re­la­tions be­tween their peo­ples. The cur­rent emo­tional de­tach­ment be­tween Chi­nese and Ja­panese peo­ples de­serves at­ten­tion of their re­spec­tive lead­ers, es­pe­cially those at­tend­ing the fo­rum. In this re­gard, too, I have four sug­ges­tions.

First, we should make good use of think tanks. Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Chi­nese and Ja­panese think tanks is of vi­tal im­por­tance to the devel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions. Many mem­bers of think tanks are at­tend­ing the fo­rum, and they should give valu­able sug­ges­tions and ad­vice on how to im­prove Sino-Ja­panese re­la­tions.

An im­por­tant job of the State In­for­ma­tion Of­fice is to pro­mote ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Chi­nese think tanks and their for­eign coun­ter­parts. We will sup­port reg­u­lar and in­sti­tu­tional ex­changes be­tween Chi­nese and Ja­panese think tanks and urge them to in­ten­sify com­mu­ni­ca­tion with each other and con­duct stud­ies to find out the best pos­si­ble way to re­solve bi­lat­eral knotty is­sues.

Sec­ond, we should use me­dia out­lets to help im­prove bi­lat­eral ties. Me­dia out­lets in the two coun­tries should fo­cus on how to de­velop bi­lat­eral ties, ad­dress the com­mon con­cerns of the two sides, give space and time to rea­son­able voices and turn gov­ern­ment con­sen­sus into con­sen­sus be­tween the me­dia and the peo­ple.

At the Rio Olympic Games, the Chi­nese me­dia played a pos­i­tive role by high­light­ing Ja­panese ping-pong player Ai Fukuhara’s per­for­mance, and the Ja­panese me­dia ex­ten­sively cov­ered Chi­nese swim­mer Fu Yuan­hui’s in­ter­views and Chi­nese women vol­ley­ball team’s achieve­ment. The pop­u­lar­ity of the two ath­letes and the Chi­nese women vol­ley­ball team in both Ja­pan and China re­flected the po­ten­tial of cul­ti­vat­ing peo­ple-to-peo­ple re­la­tions and showed the im­por­tant role me­dia out­lets can play in im­prov­ing bi­lat­eral ties.

Third, we should al­low en­ter­prises to play a big­ger role to im­prove Sino-Ja­panese ties. The G20 Sum­mit in Hangzhou pro­posed a new­global eco­nomic gov­er­nance con­cept, based on equal­ity, open­ing-up and co­op­er­a­tion. It ad­vo­cated the devel­op­ment of a fair and ef­fi­cient new­global eco­nomic gov­er­nance pat­tern to boost global growth and fa­cil­i­tate the trans­for­ma­tion of the world econ­omy.

China’s eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and deep in­volve­ment in glob­al­iza­tion will cre­ate busi­ness, in­vest­ment and co­op­er­a­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties for the world, in­clud­ing Ja­panese en­trepreneurs. En­ter­prises from China and Ja­pan should seize this op­por­tu­nity to deepen co­op­er­a­tion, so as to con­sol­i­date the foun­da­tion of Sino-Ja­panese re­la­tions.

Fourth, China and Ja­pan should work to­gether to in­crease peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes. The two coun­tries have a long his­tory in this re­gard. Ja­pan used to send many of­fi­cials and en­voys to study in China dur­ing the Sui Dy­nasty (AD 581-618) and the Tang Dy­nasty (AD 618907). In the late 19th and early 20th cen­turies, many Chi­nese peo­ple stud­ied in Ja­pan to learn from Ja­pan’s ex­pe­ri­ence.

Last year, Chi­nese peo­ple made more than 5 mil­lion trips to Ja­pan. Since 2010, China’s State In­for­ma­tion Of­fice has been or­ga­niz­ing three batches of young journalists from Chi­nese me­dia out­lets to visit Ja­pan ev­ery year. And the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment will in­vite 80 young Ja­panese journalists from Ja­pan’s me­dia out­lets to visit China ev­ery year from this year.

We want Sino-Ja­pan re­la­tions to re­turn to the right track. Hope­fully, the or­ga­niz­ers of the Bei­jing-Tokyo Fo­rum and the par­tic­i­pants will make joint ef­forts to mo­bi­lize civil so­ci­ety in the two coun­tries to help minds think deeply, the mouths speak more clearly, the legs walk more steadily and the hands hold other’s hands more tightly to bridge the gap be­tween the hearts of the two peo­ples, and help im­prove Sino-Ja­panese re­la­tions.


Jiang Jian­guo

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