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'Candid exchanges' crucial for future

By Li Xing and Li Xiaokun (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-09-01 07:49
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'Candid exchanges' crucial for future

'Long-term cooperation is only choice for both countries'

TOKYO - China and Japan need to continue candid exchanges to smooth over thorny security and diplomatic issues and achieve mutual understanding.

This was the consensus from the two countries' political and security opinion leaders during the Beijing-Tokyo Forum, which ended Tuesday.

"Long-term cooperation and friendship is the only choice for both countries" against the backdrop of a globalized world, Yuji Miyamoto, former Japanese ambassador to China, said in a keynote speech at the forum's closing session, quoting an ancient Chinese proverb, "Cooperation benefits both while confrontation can only hurt."

"By placing China-Japan relations in the international setting, Japan wants to play its role not only as an economic power but also a political power in the world," Chen Jian, former Chinese ambassador to Japan, said in response to a question from China Daily at the press conference following the forum's closing.

"China welcomes this, believing that a peaceful co-existence will help ensure not only a win-win outcome but also prosperity of Asia," Chen said.

The forum participants - many of them former diplomats or researchers involved in the military and security fields - made the best of the forum to speak openly about political and security issues that have created distrust and misunderstanding between the two peoples.

Among the issues were how to handle the triangular relationships among China, Japan and the United States, and what effect China-US woes could exert upon China-Japan relations.

"We recognize that our relations with the United States and other Asian countries also impact Japan-China ties," Yasushi Akashi, former United Nations' Under-Secretary-General, said.

"The Chinese side believes that the triangular relations among China, Japan and the United States are stable at present, and China has no intention of challenging the US as the sole superpower in the world," said Wu Jinan, senior researcher of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies and the Chinese moderator for the security talks.

"However, China will not tolerate US interference (in its regional affairs)," Wu said.

The other issues range from the Taiwan question, the nuclear issue involving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and the transparency of China's military build-up.

Although the Japanese participants complained about the lack of transparency of the Chinese military, the Chinese side emphasized that the Japanese should realize how much China has progressed in that regard, Wu said.

"China is very transparent in its military strategies," Wu said, emphasizing that China has followed the international norm in providing the world with information about its military.

"All countries in the world have reservations when releasing data on their war capabilities," Wu said.

China hopes that the upcoming defense white paper from Japan will reiterate a joint statement reached two years ago, vowing not to pose threats to each other.

The Chinese also highlighted the importance of giving full play to the Six-Party Talks as a crisis management mechanism.

"I was impressed hearing the Chinese scholars saying that China has neither the intention nor the ability to challenge the position of the US," Yoshibumi Wakamiya, columnist of the Asahi Shimbun and also the panel's co-chairman.

The Japanese participants also welcomed the Chinese scholars' recognition that Japan would not go back to militarism.

"This recognition helps forge a new type of Japan-China relations," Miyamoto said.

Despite the consensus, Wu Jianmin, a senior former Chinese diplomat, said that to achieve healthy China-Japan relations in the globalized world, both nations have to quit the old thinking pattern.

"No major power can make the decision to start a war. This is the biggest change in this century but people are still sticking to the old concepts that will lead us to disasters."

The sixth annual Beijing-Tokyo Forum, co-organized by China Daily and Genron NPO, a Japanese nonprofit think tank, concluded in Tokyo on Tuesday after two days of discussions.

China Daily

'Candid exchanges' crucial for future

'Candid exchanges' crucial for future

(China Daily 09/01/2010 page3)