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Friendship pact revisited to bolster ties

By JIANG XUEQING in Tokyo | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-01 09:39
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Participants from the 1978 Treaty of Peace and Friendship negotiations between China and Japan and their descendants, along with senior politicians, diplomats and people dedicated to Sino-Japanese friendship, revisit the important historical and practical significance of the treaty at an exchange meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday. [Photo by Jiang Xueqing/China Daily]

1978 peace treaty hailed as Beijing and Tokyo resolve to forge brighter future

Participants in the negotiations of the 1978 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between China and Japan, or their descendants, along with senior politicians, diplomats and people dedicated to Sino-Japanese friendship, revisited the important historical and practical significance of the treaty at an exchange meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday, reaffirming their determination to forge a bright future for China-Japan relations.

The signing of the treaty 45 years ago was a significant milestone in the history of the bilateral relationship, following the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1972, said Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao.

As a formal legal document approved by the legislative bodies of both countries, the treaty established the development of enduring peaceful and friendly relations between China and Japan as a common goal and obligation, outlining fundamental principles such as respecting the United Nations Charter, noninterference in each other's internal affairs, and using peaceful means to resolve disputes.

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, during a meeting in San Francisco on the sidelines of the 30th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, reaffirmed the positioning of comprehensively advancing the strategic and mutually beneficial relations between China and Japan.

In the meeting on Nov 16, the two leaders reiterated their commitment to the principles and consensus stipulated in the four political documents between the two countries, and agreed to work toward jointly building a constructive and stable China-Japan relationship that meets the demands of the new era.

"We are willing to work together with various sectors in Japan to earnestly implement the consensus of the leaders of both countries, promoting the stable, improved, and developed trajectory of China-Japan relations along a healthy and correct path," Ambassador Wu said in Tokyo during the gathering on Wednesday.

Looking toward the future, he stressed that a China-Japan relationship that meets the requirements of the new era must be built.

"In the era of accelerating changes in the world over the past century, China and Japan should consider, plan, and promote their relationship from regional and global perspectives. It is essential to establish solid mutual trust and forge a more mature and resilient bilateral relationship that continues to benefit the people of both countries.

"Additionally, the two countries should jointly uphold international fairness and justice, address various global challenges, and lead the development and prosperity of Asia and the world," he said.

During the exchange meeting, former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda said: "In a broader sense, if Sino-Japanese relations stabilize, it may contribute to the stability of Asia as a whole … This treaty, in that sense, is for the entire world, and we need to manage it with a sense of responsibility."

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the signing of the treaty. Fukuda said he hopes that this will be an opportunity to think about the future and the proper posture in Japan's relationship with China.

"Sino-Japanese relations are something we should not take lightly. China has become a major country in various aspects … We must consider what Japan will do and what our relationship with China will be. It's not a situation where we can only think about Japan anymore," he said.

Bonds alive

Gaku Hashimoto, a Japanese politician of the Liberal Democratic Party and a member of the House of Representatives, said: "I feel that the bonds created by our predecessors are alive and continue to influence us. In this sense, we must cherish what those before us have built."

Having acknowledged that the two countries are facing various challenges, Hashimoto said the purpose of governments and politicians is to appropriately control and manage these challenges, guiding each country in a better direction.

"The key to this is to engage in communication with each other as much as possible at various opportunities," he said.

Considering that the younger generation will carry the future, young people should be informed about the historical background of the treaty. It is crucial for them to know how the leaders of both countries who signed the treaty thought about its importance, not just for Japan and China but also for the future and peace of the world, Hashimoto said.

"Additionally, it's crucial to maintain a relationship where, regardless of the problem, both parties can respect each other, hold mutual regard, and have open conversations. Therefore, I believe it's important for young people of the two countries to take advantage of various opportunities, such as visiting the other country or engaging in conversations. These cross-cultural experiences can make a significant difference," he said.

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