Foreign and Military Affairs

China, Japan can herald 'golden age for Asia'

By Li Xing, Li Xiaokun and Dong Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-31 07:00
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TOKYO - Japan should make the best of China's rapid development and forge ahead with greater cooperation, Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, told Japanese media on Monday.

China, Japan can herald 'golden age for Asia'
Wang Chen (right), minister of the State Council Information Office, and Yoshito Sengoku, chief Cabinet secretary of Japan, attend the sixth annual Beijing-Tokyo Forum in the Japanese capital on Monday. [Xu Jingxing / China Daily]

Wang was responding to a question on how he views China overtaking Japan to become the world's second largest economy on the sidelines of the Sixth Beijing-Tokyo Forum, which opened on Monday in Tokyo. It was co-organized by China Daily and Genron NPO, a Japanese non-profit think tank.

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Comparing China and Japan's economic performances was a major topic of discussion at the forum but other issues were also raised.

More than 200 opinion leaders from political, business, academic and media circles from both countries joined the forum to share their views on political, economic, diplomatic, security and media issues as well as regional cooperation between China and Japan.

But the leaders focused more on what the two nations could do to contribute to Asia's future and the world's development. Many expressed their belief that Asia, which has displayed a marked resilience and maintained momentum in the midst of the global economic crisis, will be entering a golden age of development.

"Japan and China have entered an era to discuss detailed cooperation," after resumed talks on exploring resources in the East China Sea and a communication mechanism to deal with maritime emergencies between the two defense departments yielded positive results, Yoshito Sengoku, Japanese chief Cabinet secretary, said.

Cheng Yonghua, China's ambassador to Japan, said in his keynote speech that China and Japan should be able to complement each other in economic development. The two countries should deepen cooperation especially in the areas of energy efficiency, environmental protection, climate change, the green economy and disaster prevention and reduction, Cheng said.

"With continuous cooperation, we will surely establish the foundation of an East Asia community," Sengoku said.

"Asia should have its own dream," Zhao Qizheng, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said. "China, Japan and other Asian countries should design our own dream because it would be wrong to copy the American or European dream."

"Japan and China should be able to take their relations beyond their borders," former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda said at the forum's opening, saying that people should not focus too much on the comparison between the size of the two countries' GDPs.

"China's land territory is 26 times that of Japan, and its population is 10 times Japan's," Fukuda said.

"So what is the significance in just comparing the statistics? ... Such comparisons could stoke public sentiment and provoke irritating discussions," he said.

China "cares but also does not care" about statistics, Wang said. "We care, as it indicates China's relatively fast development speed, and it marks the start of a new phase," Wang said.

"But we also do not care about it, we keep cool-headed", Wang said, adding that China's GDP per capita is just $3,680, 10 percent of that of Japan.