Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Concrete actions needed to reboot ties

By Jin Yongming (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-10 08:18

The consensus reached by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Japan's National Security Council head Shotaro Yachi on Friday in Beijing on the four principles for improving bilateral ties not only creates conditions for a meeting between the leaders of the two countries during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering, it also lays a solid foundation for the recovery of bilateral relations.

The content, meaning and significance of the four-point principled agreement on handling and improving the bilateral relations are:

First, both sides must abide by the principles and spirit of the four political documents between them, which have proven, through practice, to be the best means of handling the thorny issues in Sino-Japanese ties and the way to enhance trust to develop a mutually beneficial strategic partnership.

The four documents upgrade bilateral ties to a higher level, from good-neighborly and friendly relations, to lasting peaceful friendly relations, to cooperative partnership and a mutually beneficial strategic partnership.

These documents not only define the nature of Sino-Japanese relations, but also set up the basic principles for developing the bilateral diplomatic relations, such as anti-hegemony and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

The objectives of Sino-Japanese relations are peaceful co-existence, friendship from generation to generation, mutual beneficial cooperation, and common and peaceful development.

Second, both countries reached consensus on overcoming political obstacles with the spirit of "facing up to history for the future". This is an important guarantee for a correct understanding of history, which is indispensible for mending bilateral ties. It is undeniable that visits to the Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese leaders have been a major factor behind the worsening of Sino-Japanese relations. And past experience indicates if there is no coordination, understanding, or political mutual trust between the two countries, they cannot abide by the political foundations and any improvement in bilateral relations is out of the question.

"Facing up to history for the future" means verifying the truth of the history and focusing on the fundamentals of the issues. The four political documents that promote the normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations attach great importance to respect for historical truths and the peaceful solution to the disputes and issues between the two countries.

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