China-Japan ties should be on strategic height, meets the demands of the new era: Xi
Published: Nov 18, 2022 12:59 AM Updated: Nov 18, 2022 01:09 AM
China-Japan Photo: VCG

China-Japan File Photo: VCG

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for the first time on Thursday in Thailand on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' meeting, during which Xi said China is ready to work with Japan to grasp the general direction of bilateral relations from a strategic height and build a China-Japan relationship that meets the demands of the new era.

Noting that China and Japan are close neighbors and both are important countries in Asia and the world, Xi said that the two countries share many common interests and space for cooperation, and that the importance of the China-Japan relationship has not changed and will not change, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.

China and Japan should abide by the four political documents, learn from history and perceive each other's development objectively. History and the Taiwan question concern the political basis of the bilateral relationship, and relevant promises should be fulfilled and relevant topics properly handled, Xi said. 

Xi stressed that China and Japan have different social systems and national conditions. The two countries should respect each other, enhance mutual trust and dispel doubts. In terms of disputes over sea and territorial issues, the two sides should adhere to consensuses that have been reached, properly managing divergences with political wisdom and responsibility, he said.

For his part, Kishida said Japan and China, as close neighbors, do not pose threats to each other, and the two countries need to and should coexist peacefully.

Japan cannot grow or prosper without China, and vice versa, Kishida said.

On the Taiwan question, Japan's commitments in the Japan-China joint statement have not changed at all, Kishida said.

The top leaders' meeting was held at a time when China-Japan relations face a slew of challenges, and experts said maintaining a high-level dialogue mechanism is crucially important to maintaining a good atmosphere for communication and exploring cooperation potential, while drawing clear red lines on matters concerning China's core interests.

Considering China and Japan's economic scale and the geopolitical dynamics between them, the proper handling of China-Japan relations is important for regional peace, stability and prosperity given the international turbulence and the sluggish global economy in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, Da Zhigang, director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.  

During the Xi-Kishida meeting, the two sides agreed to maintain high-level exchanges, dialogue and communication, enhance political mutual trust, promote practical cooperation, expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges, strengthen coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs, and work together to build a stable and constructive China-Japanese relationship that meets the requirements of the new era, according to the China Central Television. 

Zhou Yongsheng, deputy director of the Japanese Studies Center at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday that China and Japan have room to enhance cooperation in economy and trade, agriculture, environmental protection and energy.

According to Chinese customs data, bilateral trade rose 17.1 percent on a yearly basis to $371 billion in 2021, hitting a new high. China is Japan's largest trade partner, while Japan is China's fourth-largest trade partner.

However, observers noted that promising bilateral cooperation and stable and healthy development of bilateral relations can only be achieved on the condition that differences and risks of conflicts are managed while common ground is maximized. 

Both sides should strive to create a positive atmosphere for bilateral relations to develop, and any irresponsible remarks or provocative actions could ruin the hard-won positive momentum, observers said. 

The meeting between Xi and Kishida followed face-to-face talks between Xi and US President Joe Biden in Bali, Indonesia on Monday, which the two sides agreed were "in-depth, candid and constructive" even when China-US relations are spiraling downward.

One of the major factors behind the deteriorating China-Japan relations is Tokyo's active engagement in the US' strategy to contain China. 

Da said Japan, as an important country in Asia, should understand that introducing non-regional forces into the Asia-Pacific can turn the region into an arena of bloc confrontation and ultimately jeopardize Japan's own development.