Chinese Premier visits Japanese disaster areas to boost China-Japan ties

11:13, May 26, 2011      

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A Chinese proverb goes, "A good neighbor is better than a brother far away" and "A friend in need is more precious." These words were embodied during the fourth trilateral meeting between the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea that concluded in Tokyo on May 22.

The visit by Chinese and South Korean leaders to Japan's earthquake-hit areas in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures before the formal meeting attracted particular attention. It was reported that the Chinese side proposed the trip to Japan's disaster areas after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao approved the proposal. This required courage because a 4.0-magnitude aftershock broke out during the trip and the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident was not yet under effective control. Although Japan's TV stations broadcasted only short videos of the visit, some moving scenes are still available.

Premier Wen visited Japan during the weekend. Once he got off the aircraft, he directly headed for Japan's earthquake-hit areas. He sat on the ground in a shelter for disaster victims just like the Japanese citizens and talked intimately with local residents.

He presented panda plush dolls to Japanese children in the disaster areas one week before the International Children's Day and he ate local vegetables in front of international media agencies. Furthermore, he was glad to be invited to draw a smiling face and wrote the words "smile and live again" to offer encouragement.

He also met and made friends with Sophia University students and invited the popular Japanese band SMAP to perform in China, hoping that their songs can sow the seeds of friendship for the youth of China and Japan. In addition, he also invited 500 students from Japan's earthquake-hit areas to China's health resorts.

This reflects Premier Wen's diplomatic style of heart-to-heart exchanges and showing virtues to build harmonious relationships. Premier Wen emphasized that promoting the China-Japan non-government friendship needs to start with small things. A Japanese journalist in Beijing told the writer that his wife did not like China, but she changed her view and gained a good impression towards China after receiving the friendly service of a taxi driver in Beijing. This shows that non-government exchanges between China and Japan need this kind of harmony and friendship that are reflected in small things.

However, structural contradictions formed by factors such as historical issues between China and Japan, the Taiwan issue, territorial disputes and national feelings cannot be ignored. These problems involve the different values and national interests of the two countries and are difficult to be resolved through "virtues." Therefore, China and Japan need to establish mutually beneficial strategic relations.

The key is how to reflect the mutually beneficial strategic relations while resolving these contradictions and how to enrich the mutually beneficial strategic relations while expanding cooperation. We need to look forward to the future and focus on people and the fundamental interests of the two countries and make efforts to promote the sustainable development of China-Japan mutually beneficial strategic relations based on the overall strategic situation when China-Japan relations encounter difficulties and setbacks.

By People's Daily Online

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