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Japan's new PM needs to respect China's core interests, development demands

(Xinhua)

17:17, August 29, 2011

BEIJING, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Japan, under its new leadership, should take concrete and substantial steps to promote its relations with China, and respect China's core interests.

Yoshihiko Noda only awaits pro forma parliamentary election to become Japan's new prime minister and his task in relation to China is clear.

Though fast-burgeoning bilateral trade has made China Japan's largest trading partner since 2009, the two major powers in East Asia still run into disputes from time to time, threatening the peace and stability of the region. And Japan has to be blamed for that.

While intentionally skirting around its heinous crimes committed while invading China from 1937 to 1945, some right-wing politicians in Japan have always tried to cover up or distort that particular period of bloody and dark history of humanity, further fueling the hostilities between Chinese and Japanese.

Moreover, Tokyo has managed its relationship with Beijing without due respect for China's core interests and legitimate demands for development, trumpeting a "China threat" theory for ulterior motives.

The new Japanese government needs to start to appreciate the undisputed fact that a deeply troubled China-Japan relationship and dire mistrust would by no means serve the interests of either side, not to mention that of the region and the world as a whole.

To improve the relationship between the world's second and third biggest economies, Noda's cabinet has to carefully craft and implement a proper policy in treating Japan's war past to soothe the resentment among the Chinese public toward Japan.

Plus, no Japanese politician should ever visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which is a symbol of Japan's past militarism and honors some 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 war criminals. And it should never let these historical problems take the two nations' relationship hostage.

Furthermore, Japan needs to show enough respect for China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity, especially when it comes to matters concerning Diaoyu islands, which are an integral part of China's territory.

China has always made itself clear that it would like to settle its differences with Japan through candid dialogue.

Beijing is also willing to shelve differences and jointly explore with Japan the resources in the surrounding waters of the Diaoyu Islands, on condition that Tokyo recognized China's complete sovereignty over the archipelago.

Additionally, Japan should acknowledge China's legitimate requirement for military modernization to defend its growing national interests.

It should also stop viewing China as a threat and call off its dangerous practice of invoking China's rise as an excuse to discard the defense-oriented policy after World War II for its own military expansion.

Improving the relationship between China and Japan would not only benefit the two East Asian nations, but also help promote peace and stability in the region.

Now, the keys to better that pair of relations are in the hands of Japan as substantial measures are expected from its new government.

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