Japan needs to mend China ties with genuine, practical moves

15:45, September 26, 2010      

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Japanese authority illegally seized and detained a Chinese fishing trawler along with 15 Chinese fishermen on Sept. 9 and its captain Zhan Qixiong was detained till Friday, Sept. 24 by the Japanese Coast Guard after his boat (or trawler) collided with two Japanese patrol ships in water off the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

The Chinese government lodged strong protests against Japan over the illegal detention of the China's fishing boat and fishermen, according to a statement of China's Foreign Ministry. Such an act seriously infringed upon China's territorial sovereignty and violated the human rights of Chinese citizens.

This incident of Japan's own making has seriously disrupted a good momentum for improving and developing Sino-Japanese relations.

People have noticed that Japanese leaders gave respective remarks concerning the relations with China, indicating their awareness of "signs of deterioration" and expressing" the hope to mend relations with China" and to "enrich bilateral strategic and mutually beneficial relationship".

Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshito Sengoku, said on Saturday that China and Japan, the two major economic powers in Asia, need to work toward improving bilateral relations. It is true that Japan-China relations have shown signs of deterioration, Sengoku, also Japan's top government spokesman, told a press conference. "Our ties are important, and both sides must work to enhance our strategic and mutually beneficial relations."

To bring Sino-Japanese relations back to the right track, paying lip service won't do, however. "We should base our judgment on what is said, but also on what is done." If the Japanese government really wants to mend its relations with China, it must make genuine and practical actions and change the erroneous practice completely and thoroughly.

The Diaoyu islands, including its affiliated islands, have been China's immanent territory since ancient times, and China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over these islands. Japan's seizure of Chinese fishermen and fishing boat, investigations and any form of legal actions are illegal and invalid. The Japanese side must make an apology and compensation for the incident.

China unswervingly takes the road of peaceful development, and it has consistently advocated for a proper solution of problems through dialogue and consultation. With regard to some international territorial disputes, late senior leader Deng Xiaoping said in the early 80's of the 20th century that "we can shelve disputes and have joint development first". To cope with such problems, it is imperative to respect the reality and to find new approaches to address these issues.

Peaceful development is neither blind tolerance, nor an equivalent to disregard core interests, nevertheless. In the face of major issues of principles, petty niggling does not work at all, and it is indeed too naive to create a fait accompli and turn to external powers for its backing to bring China into submission.

In a speech at the annual general debate of the 65th United Nations General Assembly, Premier Wen Jiabao said, China values friendship and also keeps to its principles. Meanwhile, he acknowledged that China firmly upholds its national core interests, and when it comes to sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity, China will not yield or compromise.

As China's close neighbor, Japan should have an in-depth or more penetrating understanding of the indomitable character of the Chinese nation as well as its good neighborliness and friendliness based on its own history of exchanges with China.

The good momentum of Sino-Japanese relations has suffered certain damages or setbacks, and this has once again laid bare the grave errors and dishonorable tricks Japan has made in handling its relations with China. If Japan really wants to live with China in amity and enjoy mutual benefits, it should not take its advantages to undermine China's interests, still less to take China's "development express" on the one hand and, on the other hand to guard against China and play a "containment card" smartly.

China and Japan, as close neighbors to each other, should adhere to the orientation of developing their strategic and mutually-beneficial relations in compliance with the fundamental interests of their people. The two sides should resolve problems in bilateral ties through dialogue and consultation, and retain the overall situation in bilateral relations. China's position has not and will not change in this regard.

It calls for considerable political wisdom to develop Sino-Japanese relations, and more work should be done in a down-to-earth manner to reinforce the friendly ties of the two nations. By doing so, can the friendship, mutual sentiments and understanding of the Chinese and Japanese people will be deepened. And the growth of Sino-Japanese relations should be viewed farther ahead.

By People's Daily Online


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