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Neighbors can push ties higher by embracing spirit of peace treaty: China Daily editorial

China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-22 22:20

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's upcoming official visit to China, which is due to start on Thursday, is another strong signal that the two neighbors are seeking to turn a new page in their relations.

Ties between the two neighbors hit the rocks after the Abe administration nationalized some of the disputed islands in the East China Sea and were further soured by the recidivism of the views expressed by Abe and others on historical issues.

While these sticking points have still to be resolved, the two neighbors have found themselves edging closer together as they have found themselves in the same boat while Washington runs amok trying to take down the global trade system with a chain saw.

Both sides know that fostering closer, reciprocal and healthy interaction would be mutually beneficial, and a number of tangible trade and economic outcomes are anticipated.

And if it views the trends of the times objectively, Japan will appreciate that China's development does not pose a threat to it, instead it offers a means for Japan to escape the woes of its moribund economy.

Being able to put their differences aside for the sake of cordial relations would be a strong rebuttal of the Trump administration's anti-social behavior. But by working together they would also be able to promote a regional consensus on upholding the rules-based order. As the mainstays of the regional economy, by joining hands they could not only give it a shot in the arm but also provide impetus for a regional trade agreement.

It is to be hoped therefore that reports prove correct that the countries intend to resume mutual naval visits, a practice that stalled in 2011. The resumption of such visits would be highly symbolic in this regard.

They would also be of practical significance as a meaningful way for the two neighbors to reduce their strategic mistrust, which has festered and led both countries to boost their surveillance and patrol measures in the waters adjacent to the Diaoyu Islands.

Needless to say, it is unrealistic to expect the two sides to completely resolve their differences during Abe's visit. But as long as they embrace the spirit of the treaty of peace and friendship enacted 40 years ago, they can build on the current trend of rapprochement and seek ways to accumulate more mutual trust, thus paving the way for better and more rewarding ties.

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