Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Concrete actions needed to reboot ties

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

Third, consultation and communication on the basis of equality and establishing a mechanism to control and manage maritime and aviation security in the East China Sea are the pragmatic way to solve disputes such as the Diaoyu Islands issue, suspend and quiet down controversies, and improve bilateral ties.

Both countries agree that they have different proposals to ease the tension that has evolved around the Diaoyu Islands in recent years. But importantly, both sides agree to prevent the situation from worsening through dialogue, constructive crisis management and a control mechanism. These are essential measures for maintaining maritime and aviation security in the East China Sea, and they should be implemented as soon as possible.

The Japanese government's denials of a dispute over the Diaoyu Islands and the two countries' early consensus to "shelve the dispute" are the main barriers hindering a solution to the Diaoyu Islands issue. The Japanese government's "nationalization" of the Diaoyu Islands was the starting point of a tit-for-tat escalation of frictions and tensions.

Hopefully, the consensus that has been reached can lead to concrete dialogue and negotiation on the Diaoyu Islands issue and promote the formation of a security mechanism for maritime and aviation security in the East China Sea.

Fourth, it will take time to translate the consensus into action. It is unrealistic to expect a quick recovery of Sino-Japanese relations. That's why the two countries have agreed to use multilateral channels to reboot their political, diplomatic and security dialogues.

China and Japan need to create more opportunities and conditions conducive to fruitful political, diplomatic and security dialogues, as most of the two countries' divergences and disputes concentrate in these three areas. Dialogues in these areas, if well conducted, can gradually expand to other fields, such as history, culture and the economy.

The APEC meeting in Beijing is an important chance for leaders from China and Japan to rebuild their political mutual trust. Should Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, they will probably mention that the two countries should come back to the original point of strategic mutual beneficial bilateral ties, and construct a maritime liaison mechanism to prevent accidental sea or air incidents in the East China Sea.

Implementing the four principles with concrete actions, especially those aimed at solving key and sensitive issues, is the crux for the recovery of Sino-Japanese ties. Only when China and Japan make joint efforts in the same direction will they put bilateral ties on the right track.

The author is a researcher in Japanese studies with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

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