China-Japan ties move beyond past setbacks

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/24 22:53:41

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will pay an official visit to China from Thursday to Saturday. This is a landmark event that signals China-Japan relations are returning to the right track. The bilateral relationship is one of the most important and complex for both countries. As neighbors, they are interdependent while having to guard against each other, and their relations are also affected by bilateral friction and the offshore balancing act of the US.

This round of rapprochement of China-Japan ties is coming after years of severe battering. During this period, both have suffered losses. Therefore joint efforts to ensure a successful trip by Abe and provide driving forces to restore bilateral relations fit the interests of both countries.

Both societies need to readjust their views toward each other and reposition China-Japan relations. They should try to walk out of the shadow of their worsened relations and stay positive toward the future.

Chinese and Japanese societies should respect each other, accept the other's advantages and frankly admit their own disadvantages. If they keep friendly relations with distant countries and make enemies with those nearby, a light conflict can evolve into a head-on confrontation.

Based on the general principle of mutual respect and co-existence, China and Japan can keep a harmonious relationship while keeping differences. The Chinese people will find that Japan has a slew of advantages, from technological innovation to delicate management, that China can learn from.

The Japanese people will find the scale of China's modernization inspiring. China will catch up in terms of technologies. Japan should not find fault with China's rise. Rather, it should establish ties with a rising China based on mutual benefit.

The two countries should not be trapped in over-exaggerated security competition. Japan used to worry that as China rises, it may face retaliation from China due to historic reasons, and Japan seems to be much more nervous than India and South Korea. Japan needs to rid itself of this mentality.

As for China, it should not scare itself by imagining that Japan may become a major nuclear power and will invade China again. Both countries should avoid viewing potential risks as real ones and let them dominate their strategies.

China and Japan dispute the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands and the East China Sea. But they should have the most capability to manage such disputes. As two mature major powers, their relations shouldn't have severely deteriorated due to the Diaoyu Islands dispute.

The geopolitical locations of China and Japan have constantly led to tragedies in history. But in the current era of globalization, their geographic closeness and cultural similarities should brew conditions for cooperation.

The rapid rise of China is the determining factor of the strategic posture of China and Japan. The aggressive moves adopted by Japan are the direct reasons for the worsening bilateral relationship of a few years ago.

The two should draw lessons from past setbacks and inject positive momentum to restore ties.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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