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'Japan must learn from history'

By Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)

09:07, March 07, 2012

Reporters attend the news conference of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. (JIANG DONG / CHINA DAILY)

Relations with Tokyo have come a long way, says foreign minister

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Tuesday urged Japan to "fully recognize" the complexity and sensitivity of issues concerning the understanding of history and China's Diaoyu Islands, as the two countries prepare for the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties this year.

"They concern the political foundation and overall interests of China-Japan relations," Yang said at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature.

He called on the Japanese side to "truly take history as mirror and look forward to the future", and "properly handle these sensitive issues" based on the overall interests of China-Japan relations.

To enhance strategic trust between China and Japan, it is crucial that both sides view each other's development objectively and strategically, and truly see each other as an opportunity and partner for development, said Yang.

"The China-Japan relationship has come a long way in a wide range of fields, and the Chinese government attaches great importance to its relationship with Japan," said Yang.

China and Japan normalized diplomatic relations in September 1972.

Both sides should intensify exchanges at various levels, particularly between young people, and improve national sentiments toward the other side, the foreign minister said.

Yang also called for more efforts from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea to promote the building of the China-Japan-ROK free trade area and push forward a cooperative partnership among the three countries.

China this year is the coordinator of the China, Japan and ROK trilateral cooperation mechanism, and Beijing will host the fifth China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting later this year.

Hailing increased cooperation with its neighbors, Yang said China expects that the upcoming BRICS Summit, to be held in New Delhi late this month, will add new impetus to the global economic recovery.

BRICS brings together the five major emerging economies of China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.

China hopes to enhance cooperation among BRICS members, especially in the economic and financial fields, in order to benefit the people of these countries and the rest of the world, Yang added.

The rapid growth of emerging economies, including BRICS members, will be conducive to making the international order more just and equitable, Yang said.

Yang said that China expects disagreements with its Asian neighbors to be resolved through dialogue and consultation.

On the South China Sea issue, Yang said China always believes the disputes should be properly resolved through direct negotiations between the relevant parties on the basis of facts and in accordance with the basic norms governing international relations.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei dispute China's sovereignty over some islands and waters in the South China Sea.

Pending final settlement of disputes, the parties concerned may put aside their disputes and engage in joint development, Yang said.

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