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China, Japan look to boost collaboration

By LIU XUAN | China Daily | Updated: 2020-12-01 09:35
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Neighbors should actively work to upgrade economic ties, forum hears

Officials and experts from China and Japan have reached agreements that the two countries should strengthen cooperation more than ever, especially in the post-pandemic era.

China and Japan share broad common interests, despite some contradictions and differences which do exist, said State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

"For the common parts, we must continue to expand and make them a solid bond that connects the two sides. Regarding the differences and sensitive issues, we should put them in an appropriate position with constructive management and control," he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that all mankind lives in a community with a shared future, and it has once again demonstrated the traditional friendship between the peoples of China and Japan, Wang added.

The senior diplomat made the remarks by video during the opening ceremony of the 16th Beijing-Tokyo Forum on Monday.

This year, the event focused on the international order in the post-pandemic era, discussing how to build Sino-Japanese relations that meet the requirements of the times and to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation. It was held simultaneously in Beijing and Tokyo.

As the second-and third-largest economies in the world, China and Japan should focus on future cooperation in various aspects, said Xu Lin, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and minister of the State Council Information Office.

"China and Japan should continue to work together to fight the pandemic, exchange information in a timely manner, carry out cooperation in medical drugs, and safeguard the health of the people of the two countries," he said.

Xu also said both should take the opportunity of jointly responding to the pandemic as a chance to actively promote the upgrading of economic cooperation between China and Japan. "We should seize the opportunity to promote the development in a wide range of fields such as digital economy, e-commerce, smart cities, energy conservation and environmental protection, medical and healthcare."

Firm belief

Yasuo Fukuda, a former Japanese prime minister, said in his speech that political leaders, especially those of major countries, must have a firm belief in maintaining peace.

On improving Sino-Japanese relations, Fukuda said the foundation lies in the relationship between the peoples of the two countries, making mutual trust more important.

"We need to carry out more cultural exchanges on a larger scale, as people need to have more direct experience and firsthand information of each other's country to generate mutual understanding," he said.

Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said Japan and China need to continue to promote dialogues and exchanges no matter the situation.

He said he hoped the nongovernmental exchanges between the two sides could be further promoted by the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, and other events.

Katsutoshi Kawano, a Japanese admiral who served as the head of Japan's Self-Defense Forces from 2014-19, said peaceful coexistence should be the mainstream view among major countries, and that more cooperation and exchanges on national defense are needed between Japan and China.

"I think Japan-China relations have now returned to a normal track, but not in terms of national defense exchanges," he said, while calling for more cooperation mechanisms like the maritime and air liaison mechanism that was set up in 2018.

Yao Jingyuan, a research fellow at the Counselors' Office of the State Council, said the economic and trade relations between China and Japan could be "promising" in the future, as China is a market with comparative advantages and strong demand potential.

The expanding Chinese market is a major development opportunity, especially for Japanese enterprises, as the economies of the two countries are highly complementary and the industrial chain and supply chain are also highly integrated, Yao said.

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