Chinese Minister of Commerce said that prolonged "disharmony in political relations" between China and Japan will inevitably hurt bilateral trade and economic cooperation.
The current situation of Sino-Japanese relations, which is described by some as "lukewarm in political front but hot in economic front," cannot continue indefinitely, Bo Xilai said in a recent interview with Chinese media.
In fact, Bo said initial signs have already emerged that the chilliness in political links does affect the warmth of economic ties.
For 11 consecutive years up to 2003, Japan had remained as the top trade partner of China. However, its top position was replacedby the European Union (EU) and the United States last year. In 2004, the EU and the United States surpassed Japan in terms of bilateral trade volume with China. In terms of investment, the Republic of Korea (ROK) had already made more investment in China than Japan in 2004, Bo said.
It is widely known that Japan is a big economic power and that China has maintained a rapid economic growth that releases its great market potential in recent years. In this context, Bo said it is truly regrettable that China and Japan, two close neighbors that are highly complementary in economy, have seen a slowdown in the pace of trade and economic cooperation.
Improvement of Sino-Japanese relations requires joint efforts, Bo said.
"We sternly demand the Japanese side live up to the commitment of squarely facing its aggressive history with concrete act and stop doing things that hurt the feelings of the Chinese people."
Bo noted that in recent analysis of Sino-Japanese relations, anoften used expression is "chilliness in political front and warmth in economic front." Bo said this is a vivid metaphor that reflectsthe current difficulties and problems in Sino-Japanese relations.
Bo said the lukewarm situation of bilateral political relationsis what the people of the two countries do not want to see. On theother hand, hotness in economic links is what the two peoples are glad to see and in the common interests of the two peoples, Bo said.
Bo said all generations of the Chinese leadership have placed high importance on developing good-neighborly, friendly and cooperative relations with Japan. This has become a basic foreign policy of China.
"The fundamental reason for the abnormal phenomenon of lukewarm political relations between China and Japan lies in the failure ofthe Japanese side to correctly deal with historical issues," Bo said.
Bo noted that in recent years, the Japanese leader has insistedon paying visits to the Yasukuni Shrine that honors Class-A World War II criminals. In addition, the Japanese government recently gave the green light to the release of history text books glossing over Japan's aggressive past.
"The Japanese side has caused strong dissatisfaction and indignation among the Chinese people with its wrongful comments and activities on a series of important issues and repeatedly hurtthe feelings of the Chinese people," Bo said.
This is the root of the current abnormal phenomenon of lukewarmpolitical relations between the two countries, Bo said.
Bo said in contrast with the lukewarm political relations, the economic circles of the two countries have always been active and keen on trade and economic cooperation, expecting and gaining different things from each other. He said sharing the consensus of strengthening trade and economic cooperation, the economic circlesof both countries cherish the hard-won state of mutually beneficial cooperation.
In the same time, Bo expressed the hope that all sections of the Chinese society would proceed from the overall situation of Sino-Japanese relations and long-term interests of the two peoplesand jointly safeguard and actively promote the healthy developmentof trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.
Boycotting Japanese goods no good for development
A boycott of Japanese goods will damage the interests of both China and Japan, said Bo Xilai, Chinese minister of commerce.
In a recent interview with local press, Bo said some people have advocated to boycott Japanese commodities to express dissatisfaction with Japan's denial of its "aggression history." In fact, on the sidelines of the economic globalization, the production factors have been allocated in accordance with the law of value, and nations have been interdependent in the economic development.
Many famous Japanese brand goods are actually made by joint ventures, he said.
He voiced the belief that the people of advocating the boycott would express their patriotism in a sensible way, safeguard the stability of society and put their patriotism in their work to push forward the economic development.
He said the Chinese and Japanese peoples and economic circles have benefited from bilateral economic and trade relations, which is reciprocal.
China's good environment for investment and great potential in market create favorable conditions for the Japanese enterprises in China, which also made contributions to China's economic development, he said.
He said that calculations show the Japanese enterprises in China have employed 9.2 million people, and in 2004 they paid taxes of 49 billion RMB(5.9 US dollars). Japanese businesses account for 9.1 percent of the total taxes paid by the foreign enterprises in China. The Japanese investors also benefited from China's economic development in return, he added.
"We don't expect the economic and trade relations between the two countries to be infringed upon," he said.
Bo said because of the attachment of the importance to Sino-Japanese economic and trade cooperation, China strongly urges the Japanese government to take measures to deal with the issue. This would create favorable environment for bilateral economic and trade relations.
He said the Chinese government has been committed to building up sound environment for foreign investors and will protect the legal rights of all foreign companies in China.
As a responsible country and an important member of the World Trade Organization, China will, as always, continue its opening-upand reform and promote the trade exchanges with all nations.
"Commodities of all nations will have a just treatment in Chinese market," he said, adding "we also hope Japanese business circles would do more to help further economic and trade cooperation to promote friendship between the two countries."