China-Japan talks 'expect no breakthrough'
By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-02-09 05:33
A new round of sub-cabinet-level talks between China and Japan is expected to
open in Tokyo tomorrow, but Chinese analysts expect no "breakthroughs" for the
Heading a Chinese delegation, Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo is expected
to fly to Tokyo today to hold two-day talks with his Japanese counterpart,
No specific topics have been officially unveiled, but Japan's Kyodo News
Agency reported the upcoming Dai-Yachi talks are likely to touch on the Japanese
leader's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine honouring 14 convicted Class A
war criminals and the bilateral dispute over China's natural gas project in the
East China Sea.
Minister Junichiro Koizumi arrives at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo Monday,
Oct. 17, 2005. [AP]
A major task for the talks is to break the stalemate in the soured
China-Japan relations, without which the high-level meeting between the two
leaders cannot go on, said Jin Xide, a researcher on Japanese studies at the
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"So we can't expect any breakthroughs on a specific question if it hinders
the development of bilateral relations from the fourth-round China-Japan
strategic talks," Jin told China Daily yesterday.
China and Japan had three rounds of talks last year, the last one taking
place in Beijing in October.
The last talks were stopped when Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which China, along with other Asian countries, sees
as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.
China-Japan relations have cooled since Koizumi took office in 2001 and began
his annual visits to the Yasukuni Shrine.
Despite repeated requests by Beijing and Seoul to stop the pilgrimages,
Koizumi visited the Yasukuni Shrine in October, triggering a further strain on
Signs have shown the icy political relations have "cooled" the growth of
bilateral trade, because the bilateral relations were at a very low point last
Between January and August last year the trade volume of Japan and China
increased by 10.3 per cent year on year at least 13 percentage points less than
the growth rate between the EU, the United States and the Republic of Korea,
which register at 23.7, 24.9 and 25.7 per cent respectively, according to the
Ministry of Commerce.
The key to improving bilateral ties is for Japanese leaders to face up to
wartime history and stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, a move that has offended
the Chinese people, said Guo Xiangang, an expert at the China Institute of
The talks are significant because communication between the two countries
still functions. "I personally feel cautiously optimistic about the outcome of
the talks," he said.
On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told reporters at a regular
news briefing in Beijing that China hopes the two sides can enhance their
understanding through the talks.
"We will also reiterate our solemn stances on certain issues," he added.
(China Daily 02/09/2006 page2)