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Build trust that lasts, says 'Tokyo consensus'

By Cai Hong | China Daily | Updated: 2016-09-29 07:22

Asian nations need to seek shared vision, ex-Japanese official says

China and Japan need to develop extensive nongovernmental exchanges for the sake of the future of Asia and the world, according to the "Tokyo consensus" issued by the 12th Beijing-Tokyo Forum on Wednesday.

Chinese and Japanese panelists at the forum conceded that their countries are divided on many issues and agreed to work hard on building long-lasting trust between the nation's peoples.

The document called on the two governments to appropriately handle issues and differences involving security and the military. It recommended that the two countries expedite the establishment of a "maritime and air liaison mechanism" in an attempt to enhance mutual trust, reduce suspicion and avoid misjudgments.

Yao Yunzhu, former director of the Center for China-America Defense Relations at the Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, said Chinese and Japanese defense ministries have agreed to set up a hotline and to define the methods for contact and a code of conduct for encounters in the air or sea.

"If the mechanism is established, it will, to some extent, prevent military aircraft and warships from dangerous conditions when they run into each other," Yao said. "When contingencies happen, misjudgments will be reduced to avoid unnecessary escalations."

Yoriko Kawaguchi, Japan's former foreign and environmental minister, proposed that countries in Asia search for something that can bind them together, as Buddhism did in the past.

"We need to think about what vision we may share," said Kawaguchi, now a professor of Asia-Pacific studies at the Meiji Institute for Global Affairs.

Cheng Yonghua, China's ambassador to Japan, said the countries need to redefine their perceptions of each other.

"Ultimately, both countries have to realize that they are in an inseparable relationship," Cheng said.

"They should abide by the political agreements on being cooperative partners that pose no threats to each other and support each other's peaceful development. It is important that they should find out a way to get along, which goes with the times and is in the interests of the two peoples."

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