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Japan urged to keep promise on Taiwan issue
Updated: 2005-05-01 21:46

Japan should take actions, instead of only paying lip service, to keep its promise of not supporting "Taiwan independence", some Chinese scholars said Sunday.

Their appeal echoed the five-point proposals on Sino-Japanese relations set forth by Chinese President Hu Jintao when he met Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the sidelines of the recent Asian-African summit in Jakarta.

The Chinese President said the Taiwan issue lies in the core of China's interest and involves the national sentiments of the 1.3 billion Chinese people. He urged the Japanese government to take concrete actions to fulfill its repeated commitments of adherence to the one-China policy and not supporting "Taiwan independence."

"Taiwan has been China's territory since ancient times. The issue has a complicated historical background," said Shen Jiru, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The issue dates back to 1895 when Japan won the Sino-Japanese War and forced China to ink the Treaty of Shimonoseki, according to which Taiwan was ceded to Japan. Following its World War II defeat in 1945, Japan returned the island to China as required by the Potsdam Proclamation and the Cairo Declaration.

In 1972, China and Japan normalized bilateral ties. Since then,the two countries have signed three political documents, includingthe Sino-Japanese Joint Statement in 1972, the Peace and Friendship Treaty in 1978 and the Sino-Japanese Joint declaration in 1998.

Japan said in the three documents that it acknowledges that thePeople's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory, and Japan will only keep non-official and local relations with Taiwan.

Shen said that the Taiwan issue concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and therefore is the most sensitive issue in China-Japan relations.

"Chinese leaders of all generations have repeatedly emphasized China's principles on this issue," Jin Xide, a professor with the Japan Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said.

"In his meeting with Koizumi, Hu also made it clear that the Taiwan issue is a key question that should be properly handled under the current situation," Jin said.

Looking back into history, Jin said many Japanese leaders have also made their commitments to the one-China policy, including former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, Ryutaro Hashimoto and Keizo Obuchi.

"Despite repeated promises, the Japanese government took a series of actions that went against their words," said Zhang Wenmu,a professor with the Strategy Research Center of Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, citing high-ranking Japanese officials and congressmen's visits to Taiwan, Japan's approval of former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui to visit the countryand its plan of including Taiwan in the framework of its security alliance with the United States.

"Although Prime Minister Koizumi told President Hu that Japan'sposition on the Taiwan issue didn't change, what can testify his sincerity and determination for improving bilateral relations is concrete action rather than repeated promise," Zhang said.

He said the cooperation and win-win situation between China andJapan will help produce "an Asian miracle." "This prospect shouldn't be sabotaged by few Japanese right-wing politicians who favor 'Taiwan independence.'"

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