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World expects new starting point on China-Japan ties

By Wang Haiqing (Xinhua)

09:53, December 27, 2012

BEIJING, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- As Shinzo Abe becomes Japan's new prime minister, many hope the move could mark a new starting point for Japan to take concrete steps to repair its strained ties with China.

One can hardly overlook the enormous economic link between China and Japan. The two countries, respectively the world's second and third largest economies, jointly account for a considerable share of the global GDP. Their growing economic ties have benefited both nations and helped promote the common development of the region.

It is also impossible to overestimate the political significance of the China-Japan relationship.

The hard-won bilateral ties, on which hinges the stability of East Asia and the entire Asia-Pacific, have been disturbed from time to time by Japan's irresponsible attitude toward its war-time atrocities and, most recently, by its repeated provocations over China's Diaoyu Islands.

Despite his hawkish remarks concerning the Diaoyu Islands, Abe seems to have made a slight shift in his tone on relations with China, which he recently described as "one of the most important bilateral ties" Japan has.

The comment, which some believe has much to do with Abe's promise to rejuvenate Japan's flagging economy, is nonetheless a positive sign.

For an export-oriented economy like Japan, to regain growth means strenuous work to bolster its stagnant domestic market and expand overseas trade as well.

However, the prospect would be something hard to come by should Tokyo choose to play with fire amid simmering tensions not only with China but also with other neighbors like South Korea and Russia.

The new Japanese cabinet has to earnestly reflect on its foreign policy and adopt concrete measures to show its sincerity in mending strained ties with China.

It is hoped that Abe, who devoted his first overseas trip to China during his first term as prime minister to "break the ice," could view Japan-China ties from a long-term and overall perspective and steer Tokyo's diplomacy toward the consolidation of regional peace and stability.

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