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Commentary: Abe's double faces

By Shang Jun (Xinhua)

08:19, July 31, 2013

BEIJING, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki is wrapping up a two-day visit to China on Tuesday, the latest move taken by Tokyo to mend its strained ties with Beijing.

The senior diplomat was believed to be working for a possible summit between Chinese and Japanese leaders, for which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made repeated calls recently.

It seems that Japan is stretching out the olive branch and intends to repair its relations with China, which soured due to a heightened territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea and Tokyo's unapologetic attitude toward historical issues.

By playing the good guy, Japan is trying to gain international support and sympathy, but the good-will gesture is just one face of Abe.

During his visit to Singapore on Friday, Abe voiced his desire for an unconditional summit with the Chinese leader as soon as possible.

However, a hawkish Abe wasted no time in pledging coast guard patrol boats to the Philippines when he was in Manila one day later, a move apparently designed to embolden the Philippines to confront China at their separate territorial dispute.

This is in line with Abe's hardline position on the Diaoyu Islands. Despite the fact that the uninhabited islands are inherent part of China as proved by history, Abe has been flatly denying the existence of a dispute with China, effectively shutting the door for any candid talks.

While at home, Abe is catering to the rightist forces for political gains and attempting to distort Japan's history of aggression in a bid to challenge the post-war international order, a worrisome tendency for its Asian neighbors, which suffered the atrocities of Japanese invaders during World War II.

What is more disturbing is the ongoing push by Abe to revise Japan's pacifist constitution to allow for full-fledged military buildup.

All these aggressive moves exposed the other face of Abe, which may lead to a dangerous path of confrontation and raises doubt about the sincerity of his good-will for a candid dialogue.

As a Chinese saying goes, a person should be judged by his deeds, not just by his words.

It is worth noting that Japan should be held fully accountable for the deterioration of bilateral relations, and it is Tokyo that should make sincere efforts to mend the ties.

Without sincerity, the repeated calls for dialogue are nothing but empty talks.

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