China welcomes Japan-India ties

Updated: 2011-12-29 08:00

By Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China welcomes mutual visits between India and Japan and wants to "actively develop" relations with both countries, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda continued his state visit to India.

China's reaction to Noda's trip to India, which followed his two-day visit to Beijing, has been watched closely.

Hong said at a regular news conference that, during Noda's visit, China and Japan reached an important consensus on promoting a mutually beneficial strategic partnership.

"Both China and Japan think peaceful coexistence, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development are in the interests of the people of the two countries, and the peace, stability and development of the region," Hong said.

He said Sino-Indian relations had maintained a good development momentum.

"We think China and India should maintain political mutual trust, coordination and cooperation in economic, trade and international affairs," he said.

"China is willing to actively develop bilateral relations with Japan and India. We welcome the mutual state visits between Japan and India and their peaceful efforts in promoting regional development," Hong said.

Noda's visit to India came shortly after the first round of talks in Washington last week between the United States, India and Japan, and an India-Japan defense ministers' meeting in Tokyo in November.

Zhou Yongsheng, a professor of Japanese studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said since Noda assumed office, Japan's policies on counterbalancing China have become more apparent, and his visit to India to make their ties closer is one of these measures.

Noda's cabinet has "formed a strategy of containing China by shaping an arc from Northeast Asia to Southeast Asia, with the US as a backup force", Zhou said.

The Press Trust of India reported that Noda said at a luncheon meeting that, besides regional cooperation, India and Japan are forging ahead with cooperation on political, security and economic issues.

According to the Indian newspaper The Statesman, in the meeting between Noda and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh later in the day, the situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and nuclear cooperation between India and Japan would be discussed.

In an article published in Japan's major English-language newspaper The Japan Times, Professor Brahma Chellaney from the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi said Japan and India need to establish close naval cooperation as the balance of power in Asia will be determined by events principally in East Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Lu Yaodong, director of the department of Japanese diplomacy at the Institute of Japanese Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Japan has claimed its efforts in building alliances are to "tackle the uncertainty of the rise of regional power, which actually means China".

"China has a clear policy of good-neighborliness and harmony in Asia," Lu said.

Japan's efforts to enhance alliances with regional countries are unreasonable and unnecessary, and could lead to instability in the region, he said.

India and Japan have agreed to a $15 billion currency swap line, a Japanese official in Delhi said on Wednesday, in a positive move for the troubled Indian rupee.

The two countries previously had a $3 billion swap arrangement that expired in June, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

China Daily

(China Daily 12/29/2011 page11)