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Ex-official calls on China, Japan to repair ties

By Qin Zhongwei | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-03 01:37

Beijing and Tokyo should work together to get their economic and trade ties back on track because the latest economic figures reflect sluggishness amid unresolved tensions, a former Chinese senior commerce official said on Tuesday.

The Sino-Japanese relationship is now at a crossroads, said Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman and secretary-general of the China International Economic and Exchange Center. Wei was speaking at a preliminary consultation meeting for the Ninth Beijing-Tokyo Forum, to be held in August.

Bilateral trade in January and February was $44.99 billion, a year-on-year decline of 8.2 percent, he said. China's exports to Japan were $22.71 billion, with a slight growth of 0.2 percent. But its imports from Japan were $22.28 billion, showing a sharp decline of 15.5 percent, said Wei, a former vice-minister of commerce.

The economic difficulties have also adversely affected investment by some Japanese enterprises, which are worried and therefore reluctant to increase their investments in China, he added.

Apart from Japan's stagnant domestic market, the worsening relationship between China and Japan is the other important contributor to the trade difficulties, he said.

Earlier figures have shown that bilateral trade slumped 3.9 percent year-on-year to $329.45 billion last year, with Japan losing its status as China's fourth-largest trading partner, falling to fifth.

Japan was China's fourth-largest trading partner after the EU, the US and ASEAN. China has been Japan's largest trading partner since 2007.

Poor economic ties between Japan and China, the world's second- and third-largest economies, will have a negative effect on the world economy as well, warned Koji Tanami, former governor of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

He said the territorial row with China, to some extent, had affected normal trade between the two countries, which will not serve the interests of their citizens.


 Ex-official calls on China, Japan to repair ties Ex-official calls on China, Japan to repair ties 

"It is ludicrous for people to say that there will definitely be a war between China and Japan. I think most Japanese people love peace, just like most Chinese do — that’s where my confidence comes from.”

ZHAO QIZHENG, former director of the foreign affairs committee of China’s top political advisory body

"We should not underestimate the intensity of the current crisis, and wisdom should be sought to overcome it.”

YASUSHI AKASHI, former undersecretary-general of the United Nations

 Ex-official calls on China, Japan to repair ties
Ex-official calls on China, Japan to repair ties 

"We are facing a struggle between two schools of thought — one pursuing peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefits, and the other related to a Cold War mentality, a zero-sum game and conflict.”

WU JIANMIN, vice-chairman of the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy and former Chinese ambassador to France

“Japan-China relations are not that fragile, despite the current problems.”

YASUSHI KUDO, representative of Japan’s Genron NPO think tank

 Ex-official calls on China, Japan to repair ties Ex-official calls on China, Japan to repair ties 

"Although it is very hard to resolve the Diaoyu Islands dispute now, the issue does not represent the overall picture of Sino-Japanese relations.”

LI WEI, director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences 

"Opportunities can be found in the crisis ... and we should map out specific areas that we can cooperate in.”

NOBORU YAMAGUCHI, a professor at the National Defense Academy of Japan



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