Chi­nese more up­beat on Sino-Ja­panese ties

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CAI HONG in Tokyo cai­hong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

More Chi­nese are op­ti­mistic about their coun­try’s re­la­tion­ship with Ja­pan, ac­cord­ing to the an­nual China-Ja­pan joint opin­ion poll on bi­lat­eral ties re­leased in Tokyo on Thurs­day.

Slightly more than 30 per­cent of the Chi­nese ques­tioned said the cur­rent China-Ja­pan re­la­tion­ship is “good”. The Chi­nese also ex­pressed more op­ti­mism about fu­ture ties.

The per­cent­age of peo­ple in China who said re­la­tions will take a turn for the bet­ter in­creased from 28.8 per­cent in 2017 to 38.2 per­cent this year.

Those who did not re­gard the ties’ prospects fa­vor­ably ac­counted for 18.2 per­cent of re­spon­dents, a 10 per­cent drop from last year.

Chi­nese re­spon­dents num­bered 1,548 and were from Bei­jing, Shang­hai and eight other cities, while 1,000 Ja­panese took part in the sur­vey.

The sur­vey, co-con­ducted by China In­ter­na­tional Pub­lish­ing Group and Ja­panese non­profit Gen­ron, showed that only 15.6 per­cent of peo­ple in Ja­pan took an op­ti­mistic view about how their na­tion’s ties with China are pro­gress­ing.

The Chi­nese pub­lic’s im­pres­sion of Ja­pan largely im­proved this year. The poll showed that 42.2 per­cent of the Chi­nese re­spon­dents had a “fa­vor­able” im­pres­sion of Ja­pan, an in­crease of 11 per­cent­age points from last year.

And those who viewed Ja­pan un­fa­vor­ably also dropped by 11 per­cent­age points to 46.1 per­cent this year.

But 86.3 per­cent of re­spon­dents in Ja­pan had an “un­fa­vor­able” im­pres­sion of China, com­pared with 13.1 per­cent who viewed China fa­vor­ably.

Gao An­ming, vice-pres­i­dent of China In­ter­na­tional Pub­lish­ing Group, said Chi­nese re­spon­dents’ views of bi­lat­eral ties and per­spec­tives on Ja­pan echo the mo­men­tum of im­proved bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, but added that sen­si­tive is­sues be­tween the two coun­tries are still se­ri­ous.

Seventy-four per­cent of the Chi­nese ques­tioned con­sid­ered Sino-Ja­panese re­la­tions to be “im­por­tant”, and 70 per­cent sup­ported China’s co­op­er­a­tion with Ja­pan on Asian af­fairs. But 79.4 per­cent of the Chi­nese took Ja­pan as a mil­i­tary threat, a rise of 11.8 per­cent­age points from 2017.

Premier Li Ke­qiang vis­ited Ja­pan in May, and Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping met with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe in Vladi­vos­tok, Rus­sia, in Septem­ber.

Jin Ying, a re­searcher at the In­sti­tute of Ja­panese Stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, said China and Ja­pan should work to­gether to keep the ties on a nor­mal track.

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