Past will decide future of bilateral ties, says expert

10:26, November 03, 2009      

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History will play a major role in deciding the course of Sino-Japanese bilateral ties, said Chen Jian, a former Chinese ambassador to Japan, at the Fifth Beijing-Tokyo Forum in Dalian yesterday.

"The Chinese are very concerned about how the Japanese feel about Japan's aggression toward China during World War II," Chen said.

A recent survey revealed that nearly half of the Japanese respondents felt the public in China had "overreacted" to the aggression that occurred decades ago.

"To embark on a journey toward the future, we must first clear the dirt from the past," Chen said at a sub-forum aimed at boosting political trust and building up strategic ties.

Citing the survey, Chen said the Chinese are worried that the trend of militarism is on the rise in Japan, while the Japanese say there is a lack of military transparency in China. "It's quite clear that mutual trust is still lacking in one way or another," he said.

Chen said China had already revealed enough about its military capacity at several parades and had even made public its military expenditure.

"China should maintain its military capacity to protect its territory and coastal routes through which it exports and imports goods. The same goes for Japan," said Chen.

"Mutual understanding is the key to pushing forward mutual trust. With trust, both countries can even join hands on coastal patrol."

Kozo Watanabe, the highest consultant of the Democratic Party of Japan, said the new Yukio Hatoyama-led Japanese government was a milestone in the country's history. "We are aiming to bring prosperity not only for Japan, but also China and the rest of the world," he said.

As a political guru in Japan who first visited China in 1969 and played a vital role in normalizing diplomatic ties between the two nations, Watanabe said China and Japan should not only focus on near-term bilateral concerns but also the future blueprint of Asia and the world.

"I think both countries should shoulder massive responsibilities," he said.

A Japanese panelist said the 21st century belonged to Asia.

Predictions indicated that China, India and Japan could account for 15 percent, 10 percent and 5 percent of the world's economy respectively by 2050.

As of now, Japan accounts for 6 percent of the global economic output, with China at 5.5 percent.

Wu Jianmin, former Chinese ambassador to France, said he hoped this century belonged not just to Asia but the entire world.

"Europe and the US have reaped their success during the past centuries partly at the cost of other people's suffering through evils such as slavery and wars.

"Asia's rise, led by Japan's boom and sustained growth in China, is totally different. We have been involved in globalization and benefited others while accomplishing our goals," Wu said.

Source:China Daily
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