Can Abe face history at Sep 3 parade?

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-13 0:48:01

China has revealed that it is inviting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the commemorative parade that marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on September 3. Japanese authorities haven't replied whether Abe will attend or not. Japanese media analyzed that Abe probably will not attend the events on that day, but may come either before or after that date. Apparently, Japan is exploring China's intentions.

China has invited a number of leaders of countries related to WWII to take part in the parade. If Abe is excluded, it will show China isn't broad-minded. Now it tests Japan's breadth of mind as to how to respond to this invitation. Abe didn't reject the invitation, but indicated he would rather come before or after September 3. This is a diplomatic tactic, passing the buck back to China.

China intends to invite Abe to attend the parade, and Abe has been hoping to be invited to China. If the two events come as one, a thaw in the icy Sino-Japanese relations will be forged. But judging from Japanese reports, there is scant chance of this happening.

It is worth mentioning that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder have both attended parades in Moscow to commemorate the end of WWII.

The reason why Merkel did not attend this year was the Ukrainian crisis. Amid tense Russia-US relations, Merkel was trying to strike a balance between the two. But the implication will be quite different if Abe does the same.

Before September 3, August 15 is a key date as Abe is supposed to deliver a speech to mark the anniversary of the war's end. What his statement will say will pave the way for Sino-Japanese relations in September and beyond.

If Abe does not attend the parade on September 3 or come either before or after the date, both Beijing and Tokyo may adopt a low profile instead of arguing publicly.

China-Japan relations are on the path of improvement. Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the US in September. Commemorating the end of WWII is a cheerful event. These factors will affect the communication sphere of the two.

This is the first time that China will hold a parade to celebrate the end of a cruel war. It will make a profound impact on world views about the contributions that Far Eastern battlefields and Chinese people made during the war. It will also reshape people's thinking about the war. There are several factors behind the absence of some state leaders, but they will not affect Chinese people's feelings on that particular day.

If leaders of China and Japan appear at the parade together, it will be a strong symbol of China-Japan rapprochement. Otherwise, it means Japanese society's reflection on the war is not enough for rapprochement. The regrets would flow to both countries, but China should stay at ease about it.

Posted in: Editorial

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