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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 17:18, October 19, 2004
Ambassador Wang Yi on China's Japan policy
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Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi held a press conference at the Japan Press Club on invitation Monday to elucidate the Chinese government's policy toward Japan and its principles and positions on questions such as history and Taiwan.

Wang Yi stressed that the Chinese leadership and the Chinese government have always attached great importance to the China-Japan relations. In order to realize the healthy development of the China-Japan relations the both sides are hoped to "maintain one basis and advance three goals". The one basis is the political basis formed by three political documents such as the China-Japan Joint Statement, the core of which is Japan's expressing remorse for its war of invasion and sticking to the "One China" principle. He said looking back on the history since China and Japan reestablished diplomatic relations the bilateral relations developed smoothly whenever the both sides adhered to this basis. Otherwise setbacks would emerge. It is now a high time for the both sides to review and abide by the said spirit and principle so that political obstacles could be eliminated and sound development of the bilateral relations could be realized.

Wang Yi also advanced "three goals" for which the both sides should make joint effort in order to develop sound relations between the two countries. He said first is to adhere to drawing lesions from history and being forward-looking so that historical experience and lessons could become forces promoting the progress of the bilateral relations; second is to adhere to mutually benefiting cooperation and friendship from generation to generation, to enrich the content of the friendship cause through mutually benefiting and win-win means; third is to adhere to peaceful development and the rejuvenation of Asia, to identify and expand new common interests between the two countries in the new century.

In answering questions regarding the Yasukuni Shrine Wang Yi said the essence of the Yasukuni Shrine question is whether (Japan) can address the particular period of history correctly. The key problem is that 14 Class-A war criminals are enshrined in it, those who were the initiators and commanders of Japan's war of aggression. Ordinary people in Japan were also their victims. Most of the Class-A war criminals were involved in the war invading China. Many of them once occupied prominent positions in the army that invaded China and committed tremendous crimes on the Chinese people. Worshiping these people is bound to hurt directly the feeling of the victims of the war, particularly that of the Chinese people who were most victimized by the militarism, and shake the political basis of the China-Japan relations. This, of course, is something the Chinese people cannot accept.

Wang Yi said the Yasukuni Shrine question has gone beyond the realm of Japanese domestic affairs and is a serious diplomatic question that touches on the demarcation of the right and wrong and international justice. The both sides should treat and handle the question in accordance with the China-Japan Joint Statement and international common understanding. It is hoped that the Japanese leadership could make a fresh start and, proceeding from the overall consideration of the bilateral relations and the long-term interests of the two countries, stop actions that hurt the feeling of the Chinese people.

With regard to some media's alleged "China's anti-Japan education" Wang Yi pointed out that China does not have so-called anti-Japan education. Like other countries China has patriotic education. If there is any such thing as directed at Japan it is the Chinese leaderships' consistent articulations since the era of Mao Zedong to the Chinese people that the responsibility of the invasion war should be born by a few militarists in Japan, that the Japanese people in general were also victims of the war and that the peoples of China and Japan should carry on friendship from generation to generation. It was because of this China-Japan friendship education that a great many Japanese orphans left by the war were carefully raised by ordinary Chinese to grow up. It was because of this China-Japan friendship education that the two countries realized the normalization of diplomatic relations.

As regards the East China Sea resources exploration and delimitation questions Wang Yi stressed that China's oil-gas exploration in the East China Sea is carried out in China's indisputable coastal waters and is a matter within the scope of China's sovereignty. Still, China, proceeding from the overall consideration of the China-Japan relations, has voluntarily suggested to hold consultation between the two countries regarding the question in the East China Sea, to boost understanding through dialogue and look for ways of settlement.

He said both China and Japan have the right to claim 200 sea miles of water. However the width of the East China Sea is less than 400 sea miles and the claims of the two sides overlap giving rise to disputes. So how to address the dispute? According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (the two sides) should carry out negotiation based on the principle of justice and look for ways of settlement acceptable to the both sides. In other words one should not unilaterally impose its opinions on the other side.

The principle of justice is to comprehensively consider various kinds of factors. First is the factor of marine geography. The Chinese side of the East China Sea is the Asian continent, which has a far-flung coastline. The Japanese side is a chain of islands. For Japan to request half of the East China Sea is obviously not in accordance with the principle of justice, considering the imbalanced geographical environment. Moreover the midline idea is unilaterally advocated by Japan. It is not a result of bilateral negotiation, even less a decided delimitation, for China has its own advocated line. Wang Yi hoped that the two sides could all act in accordance with the UNCLOS.

Regarding Japan's request to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council Wang Yi said China supports reform of the United Nations including the Security Council. As a permanent member and a responsible country China is not inclined to declare prematurely its stand on a particular country's request. He said China welcome Japan's playing an active role on the international stage including in the UN affairs. To achieve Japan's objective the key is for Japan to take actual actions to really win the trust of Asian countries, particularly the trust of peoples in neighboring countries.

Wang Yi also answered other questions that concerns the press. All seats in the Japan Press Club were taken on Monday. More than 200 Japanese and foreign journalists and persons attended the meeting, reflecting the Japanese press' attention to the China-Japan relations.

By People's Daily Online

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