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Defrosting China-Japan ties demands Abe's practical action

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-11-03 19:09

BEIJING - Asia is holding its breath now, as the icy China-Japan relations could possibly see signs of thawing in the upcoming informal leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Defrosting China-Japan ties demands Abe's practical action
Japan to be 'respected guests' at APEC
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has spared no efforts, at least as his previous announcements go, in seeking to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping during this multilateral event.

His wish will be fulfilled, since Beijing, the host of this forum, will undoubtedly receive the Japanese leader with etiquette and hospitality, despite chronic territorial rows and historical feud with Tokyo.

However, that does not necessarily mean Abe's long-sought formal talks with Xi during APEC would come true, which demands Abe extend good faith and take real action to create the proper atmosphere.

Unfortunately, bilateral relations, constantly troubled by Japan's attempts to wash off its war-time atrocities, have not seen such action from Japan even when the trans-Pacific meeting is soon to come.

Instead, Tokyo has launched a string of provocations in October, as three women ministers and 110 lawmakers visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 Class A war criminals, Abe made an offering to the shrine under the title of his official post, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied in public the nation's recruitment of over 200,000 sex slaves from other Asian countries during WWII.

China and South Korea, suffering from huge civilian casualties and economic losses due to Japan's invasion, were also alarmed by Abe's dangerous efforts to increase military build-up, lift restrictions on overseas battling and reinterpret the war-renouncing constitution.

In short, it seems nothing more than a mere clumsy political stunt for the island country to advocate dialogue and fence-mending with neighbors on the one hand, while sticking to the bigoted course of fomenting strife and misgivings on the other.

Yet the estrangement serves the interests of neither side, and a rapprochement is long overdue. Thus it would be highly pitiful for Abe to miss the enticing opportunity presented by the APEC gathering to improve China-Japan relations.

All these consequences should be weighed before the Abe administration makes its next move on the identification of its war shames.

After all, defrosting the relations between China and Japan, two regional and global stakeholders, primarily depends on Japan's initiative and activity to create the appropriate atmosphere for the leaders' meeting.

Without those, Tokyo's call for a China-Japan summit would be no more than meaningless waste of breath.

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