An­a­lysts: Ja­pan should fol­low up visit with ac­tion

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - China - By PU ZHENDONG

China’s chilly re­la­tions with Ja­pan won’t thaw un­til Tokyo ceases its provo­ca­tions on ter­ri­to­rial and his­tor­i­cal is­sues, an­a­lysts said on Fri­day as a Ja­panese Cab­i­net min­is­ter vis­ited China for the first time since Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe took of­fice in De­cem­ber 2012.

Ak­i­hiro Ota, min­is­ter of land, in­fra­struc­ture, trans­port and tourism, and for­mer head of ju­nior coali­tion party New Komeito, met Vice-Pre­mier Liu Yan­dong on Fri­day.

Liu said China is com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing Sino-Ja­panese ties by draw­ing lessons from the past and fac­ing the fu­ture.

“Both coun­tries should prop­erly han­dle sen­si­tive is­sues, ad­vance di­a­logue in mul­ti­ple ar­eas, im­prove trust and nur­ture people’s feel­ings to­ward each other,” Liu said.

Ota said his govern­ment will stick to the ba­sis of the four po­lit­i­cal documents signed by the two coun­tries and carry for­ward the legacy of the “Tomi­ichi talks” on Ja­pan’s war­time ag­gres­sion.

For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said on Fri­day that China has been con­sis­tent in de­vel­op­ing Si­noJa­panese re­la­tions, but “Ja­pan needs to take prac­ti­cal steps to re­move ob­sta­cles that have blocked bi­lat­eral ties. We wel­come such ef­forts from what­ever quar­ter”.

Huo Jian­gang, a re­searcher on Ja­panese stud­ies with the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said nor­mal ex­changes are “mean­ing­ful” to both coun­tries as there is de­mand and need for com­mu­ni­ca­tion in sec­tors such as trans­porta­tion and tourism.

“China never cut off com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Ja­pan,” Huo said. “How­ever, China also found such com­mu­ni­ca­tion fu­tile as it is based on Ja­pan’s hos­tile poli­cies on the Diaoyu Is­lands and is­sues re­gard­ing his­tory.”

Wang Xin­sheng, a pro­fes­sor of Ja­panese stud­ies at Pek­ing Univer­sity, said, “Tokyo dis­patch­ing a Cab­i­net mem­ber to China shows its in­ten­tions to im­prove re­la­tions, but an at­mos­phere of sin­cer­ity for a govern­ment-to-govern­ment di­a­logue has yet to be es­tab­lished.”

Ota ar­rived in Bei­jing on Thurs­day and vis­ited the Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Tourism Expo.

Ota also called for the re­sump­tion of a tourism min­is­ters’ meet­ing among China, Ja­pan and the Repub­lic of Korea, which was sus­pended in 2012 when Sino-Ja­panese re­la­tions plunged due to Ja­pan’s il­le­gal na­tion­al­iza­tion of China’s Diaoyu Is­lands.

Ja­panese of­fi­cials said Ota also met on Fri­day with of­fi­cials in­clud­ing Shao Qi­wei, head of the Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, and for­mer State Coun­cilor Tang Ji­ax­uan.

Ja­pan’s Jiji Press said on Fri­day that Sino-Ja­panese ties have im­proved in re­cent months, as both coun­tries have con­ducted a se­ries of ex­changes.

But Hua, the min­istry spokes­woman, played down the Jiji Press re­port, say­ing, “Such a re­port, not based on fact, serves Tokyo’s po­lit­i­cal pur­poses and falls short of cred­i­bil­ity.”

She also termed Abe’s pur­suit of col­lec­tive self-de­fense “a threat to re­gional sta­bil­ity”.

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