Abe's visit builds up hope for better ties

Updated: 2006-10-10 20:49

Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, concluded his visit to China on Monday, which was not only Abe's first foreign trip since he assumed the premiership, but also the first visit to China by a Japanese prime minister in the past five years.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 8, 2006. [Xinhua]

The two-day trip symbolized the thaw of the deadlocked China-Japan political relationship and opened the window of hope for improving relations between the two neighbors separated by a strip of water. The visit will have positive effects on the exchange and cooperation in politics, economy, diplomacy and culture between China and Japan.

In the past five years, former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, in which 14 Japanese class-A war criminals in the Second World War are honored among the country's war dead, had hurt seriously the feelings of the 1.3 billion Chinese people, eroded the political base of China-Japan relations, and resulted in an interruption of the exchanges between the leaders of the two countries.

Since taking office late last month, Abe has expressed his hope to improve China-Japan relations on various occasions and made positive gestures on historical issues. He admitted that Japan's colonial rule and aggression in the Second World War had inflicted huge pains and sufferings upon many countries, particularly Japan's Asian neighbors. He also said that Japan accepted and would not dispute the verdicts delivered by the Fareastern International Military Court of Justice.

Thanks to their joint efforts, China and Japan reached consensus on overcoming the political obstacles hampering the development of bilateral relations and on promoting the healthy development of their friendly and cooperative relations, thus paving the way for Abe's visit.

During Abe's visit, both sides agreed that since the normalization of their relations 34 years ago, the exchange and cooperation between China and Japan in various sectors had expanded and deepened continuously, the interdependence between the two neighbors had further increased, and the China-Japan relationship had become one of the most important bilateral arrangements for both countries.

The two sides also agreed to build mutually beneficial bilateral relations and to realize the lofty goals of peaceful co-existence, friendship from generation to generation, reciprocal cooperation and common development.

Another vital outcome was that China and Japan reaffirmed their adherence to the spirit of the three political documents signed by the two countries and the importance of maintaining the political foundation of their bilateral ties.

At his meeting with Abe, Chinese President Hu Jintao pointed out that to achieve the long-term stable development of China-Japan relations, the two countries must first and foremost strengthen political mutual trust and abide by the principles set out in the three political documents.

The three political documents call for the establishment of a correct historical view -- "taking history as a mirror and looking into the future," which is the political prerequisite to ensure the stable and healthy development of China-Japan relations.

Abe reflected deeply the huge pains and sufferings Japan had inflicted upon the peoples of Asian countries, and stressed that this stance would never change in the future. He also declared that Japan would never praise militarism, nor prettify class-A war criminals.

Abe noted that Japan would continue to deal with the Taiwan issue in accordance with the Sino-Japanese Joint Communique and this position would not change. He added that Japan stuck to the one-China policy and did not support "Taiwan independence."

Chinese and Japanese leaders agreed to strengthen their contacts and dialogues so as to facilitate the all-around development of their friendly cooperation in such fields as politics, economy, security, culture and international affairs.

"Both sides believe that contact and dialogue between their leaders is significant to the healthy development of bilateral relations," said a joint press communique issued on Sunday.

The Japanese side invited Chinese leaders to visit Japan, for which the Chinese side expressed gratitude and consent in principle. They also agreed to hold frequent talks on the occasions of international meetings, the communique said.

History has shown that visits and meetings between the leaders of the two sides are crucial in China-Japan relations. If problems happened to the contact and dialogue between Chinese and Japanese leaders, various exchanges between the two nations would be weakened.

During Abe's visit, the two countries' leaders reached consensus on enhancing the exchange of high-level visits and dialogues, paving the way for China and Japan to expand their exchanges and deepen their cooperation in various fields.

The visit is viewed as a turning point for the improvement of China-Japan relations. However, there still remain some historical and practical factors that are likely to constitute possible obstacles to the smooth development of bilateral ties in the future.

Nevertheless, to develop a friendly cooperative relationship between China and Japan is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples, and conforms to the world trend of political multipolarization and economic globalization.

As long as the two sides "take history as a mirror and look into the future," abide by the principles of the three political documents, meet words with actions, and implement seriously the consensus reached by the two countries' leaders during Abe's visit, China-Japan relations will develop deeply and widely.


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