Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Japanese must see China anew

By Bao Xiaqin (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-07 07:53

China has sent the message to the Japanese government that the "nationalizing" of the main Diaoyu Islands in 2012 violated the consensus that had been reached to shelf the territorial dispute for a future and wiser generation to solve. The message should get across in a clear, unambiguous manner.

New mechanisms should be established to manage crises and prevent them from backfiring in the region. Scholars from the two nations can take the lead in this by discussing and proposing new measures such as creating a special peaceful zone around the disputed islands.

The Japanese public actually holds diverse views on the visits to the Yasukuni Shrine by the country's leaders, and there is ample space for China to rally the support of those Japanese that oppose such visits to put pressure upon those politicians and leaders who persist in holding a wrong view of history.

China should also cultivate those Japanese politicians who have shown goodwill toward it. The Japanese people do not want any hot or cold war, and they can well constrain their government through the Western-style democracy; all China needs to do is promote non-official interaction and let more friendly Japanese politicians and the public play more influential roles in steering Japan's policy toward China.

It is also advisable to try and encourage the Japanese media to construct a positive image about China instead of demonizing the nation as an opponent. Media and academic communications should not be hindered by the current political stalemate; on the contrary, they can serve to overcome prejudice and the unreasonable hostility that has emerged.

China needs to make more friends internationally to break its containment. It has already improved relations with Russia and the Republic of Korea. But more security cooperation is helpful with other neighboring nations, so as to lay a sound basis for an East Asian security cooperation mechanism in the future.

The author is associate professor of international relations at Fudan University.

(China Daily 11/07/2014 page9)

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