China, Japan need dialogue
In a five-point proposal on the development of Sino-Japanese relations, Chinese President Hu Jintao said the two countries should resolve their differences through dialogue and peaceful negotiations in an attempt to prevent further damage on friendship between the two nations.
Hu made the proposal at a recent summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Jakarta after the Japanese government's approval of a history textbook that glosses over Japan's World War II atrocities angered China and other Asian neighbors. Japan also chose to take unconstructive attitudes toward disputed territories with China and South Korea.
Hu's proposal indicates the sincerity of the Chinese government and people in maintaining good relations with Japan and serves as the way out of the difficult situation facing bilateral relations.
As close neighbors separated only by a strip of water, China and Japan have enjoyed a long history of friendship and bilateral relations have made considerable progress since the two normalized diplomatic ties in 1972.
But because of complex historical and realistic reasons, there still exist some disputes between the two nations.
The way to handle these disputes has a bearing on the directionand progress of the development of bilateral relations, and on peace, stability and prosperity in Asia as a whole.
Hu's proposal is in conformity with the five principles of peaceful coexistence and an independent foreign policy of peace favored by China.
It is also an indication of China's adherence to the principles enshrined in the three important political documents signed by China and Japan.
The Sino-Japanese Joint Statement in 1972, the Peace and Friendship Treaty in 1978 and the Sino-Japanese Joint declaration in 1998 all state that the two countries shall solve their problems through peaceful methods.
From a historical point of view, all the breakthroughs and positive developments in bilateral relations have been achieved by following this principle of resolving differences through dialogue.
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, China and Japan, through a series of patient negotiations, reached consensus on issues of Taiwan and war compensation, paying the wayfor the normalization of diplomatic relations.
After China and Japan normalized bilateral ties in 1972, the two countries also resolved a series of problems in politics, economics and trade, and culture through dialogue and consultations.
While the Sino-Japanese ties continue to develop, several problems and difficulties have also emerged in recent years.
Turning a deaf ear to opposition from China, Japan took unilateral actions in disputes over the Diaoyu Islands and the oiland gas exploration in the East China Sea, widening the divergence and exacerbating the problems. As a result, relations with China were severely damaged.
On such issues as the Diaoyu Islands, called the Senkaku Islands in Japan, late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping proposed in 1978 that the two countries should put aside the disputes and jointly exploit the resources in the region. Deng's proposal, which showed the spirit of seeking common ground while reserving differences and solving disputes through dialogue and consultation,set the direction for solving these disputes.
A positive attitude is needed if a dispute is to be resolved through dialogue and peaceful negotiations.
After the normalization of bilateral ties, China and Japan set up regular and on-demand consultation mechanisms to carry out political dialogues. A consultation mechanism is gradually taking shape in the fields of economics and trade. Meanwhile, non-governmental organizations such as the 21st Century Committee for Japan-China Friendship have also contributed to solving disputes through dialogue.
The two countries need to further improve and develop the dialogue mechanisms and seek effective means to solve disputes andto avoid new disturbances to their friendly ties.
There is divergence between China and Japan but there are also common interests, the former outweighed greatly by the latter. Both countries should take as priority the maintenance of good relations, increase mutual trust and narrow down differences through dialogue and consultations. Only in this way can Sino-Japanese relations enjoy stable and healthy growth and the two peoples enjoy everlasting friendship.