Opinion / Editorials

Exchanges between peoples

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-10 08:10

The current political stalement between China and Japan should never shake the conviction of those on both sides that bilateral relations are essential not only to the stability of East Asia but also to the peace and development of the world at large.

This explains why former state councilor Tang Jiaxuan, during his visit to Japan early this month, called on clear-minded politicians on both sides to resist what the Abe administration is doing in kidnapping Japan-China relations for partisan interests and the benefit of Japan's right-wing political forces.

When it comes to the economic development and social progress of both countries, the importance of Sino-Japanese friendship can never be overestimated. Neither can the importance the Chinese government attaches to this friendship. This is why China will never tolerate whatever moves the Abe government takes to undermine the political foundation for friendly relations.

Given what Shinzo Abe has been doing and saying in asserting Japan's military strategy, it is unlikely that the predicament between the two countries will be resolved in a short period of time.

In such difficult circumstances, it is particularly essential for business organizations to cement or at least stabilize the current economic ties between the two countries, and for social organizations and grassroots groups to promote people-to-people exchanges by organizing mutual visits and other activities to enhance understanding.

Non-governmental exchanges and activities to promote friendship can make a difference to the development of relations between the two estranged neighbors. This has been a tradition since such exchanges laid the foundation for the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in the early 1970s.

Besides what Abe has been saying and doing, what is even more detrimental to relations in the long run is the declining trust and rising animosity between the two peoples. An opinion poll of the two peoples jointly conducted by the Genron NPO and China Daily in 2013 suggested that the perceptions and feelings of the Japanese and Chinese public toward each other were worsening.

Politicians on both sides who are well aware of the importance of Sino-Japanese friendship and relations and intend to safeguard them should be vigilant about this dangerous trend.

Only by expanding the channels for people-to-people exchanges and visits between them will more people on both sides become aware that the bilateral friendship is in the interests of both countries and that animosity harms both.

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