World / Asia-Pacific

Does Abe deserve an APEC meeting?

( Updated: 2014-09-10 11:30

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, to be held in Beijing in November, has been widely suggested in the press as a possible meeting place for Chinese and Japanese leaders.

Recent moves by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan seem to signal optimism about thawing out chilly relations with Beijing and Tokyo and the APEC summit might be an opportune time and place.

Abe used a parliamentary session on July 14 to call for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. On Sept 3, Abe reshuffled the cabinet and made China-friendly appointments to top party posts.

Still, Abe's measures do not solve the crux of the problem that affects the development of the China-Japan relationships and, in fact, show little sincerity.

"What really matters is not holding a summit, but what you have done. Abe has created serious consequences over issues of history," said Lyu Yaodong, a senior expert on Japan's diplomatic policies at the Institute of Japan Studies under Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Liang Yunxiang, a professor of international studies at Peking University, said what Abe wants mainly is not a thaw with China, but a united Liberal Democratic Party to promote his strategy and win re-election next year.

Abe sent a message of support to a ceremony honoring Class-A and other war criminals, hailing them as "foundation of Japan," local media reported on August 27. This is Abe's latest act of honoring Japanese war criminals as heroes.

Abe has also not apologized for his pilgrimage in last December to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 Class-A war criminals from World War II.

In an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, Abe refused to rule out another visit to Yasukuni.

"In the future, I hope to maintain my feelings of respect to honor those who have given their lives for the nation, but I would rather not say whether or not I will visit Yasukuni," he was quoted as saying.

China has officially set Sept 3 as "Victory Day" to mark China's victory over Japan in World War II. The establishment of "Victory Day" highlights Beijing's commitment to peaceful development and the importance of acknowledging the past. The failure to do so has been a repeated failure of Abe.

China has called for the Japanese side to take tangible action in order to eliminate political obstacles that affect the development of the bilateral relationship.

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