China-Japan relations move forward

2007-12-28 19:01:52 CCTV


Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan this past April was considered a sign of thawing relations between two historically strained neighbors.

Observers say the increasing senior level exchanges actively improve frosty relations between the two countries.

In the year 2007, there were some optimistic signs of growing trust between China and Japan: high-level dialogue about the economy, and military exchanges.

Wen Jiabao is the first Chinese Premier to visit Japan in 7 years. Both heads of governments were keen to build strategic and mutually beneficial relations.

In his speech to the Japanese parliament, Wen Jiabao spoke of bright prospects.

The Chinese Premier also talked to ordinary Japanese to enhance understanding between the two peoples.

Observers say the increasing senior level exchanges actively improve frosty relations between the two countries.

Professor Liu Jiangyong from Tsinghua Univ. said, "If we compare Shinzo Abe's visit to China last year to an ice-breaking trip, Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan this year to an ice-melting trip, then Yasuo Fukuda's trip will be a one for both countries to embrace spring."

But the two sides still have frictions dating back to the historical war era, and over boundaries in the East China Sea. Although neither Wen Jiabao nor Yasuo Fukuda can solve these disputes right away, analysts say both sides seem sincere about finding solutions.

Liu Jiangyong said, "There are still many difficulties for both sides to handle. Fukuda's visit indicates Japan's willingness to improve bilateral relations. And China has also shown sincerity about having strategic relations for mutual benefits."

In the late half of this year, Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan and the warship Shenzhen paid visits to Japan. Cao Gangchuan's trip was the first by a Chinese defense minister in almost a decade.

During his visit, the two sides agreed to strengthen military exchanges, and proposed hotlines and reciprocal port calls for the two navies.

This year also marked the 35th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral ties. And the two countries seized the opportunity to promote economic ties.

This month they held the first round of a high-level economic dialogue initiated by the two heads of governments. They issued a joint communique about macro-economic policies, trade and investment, climate change, environmental protection and multilateral and regional economic cooperation.

China and Japan aspire to build a strategic, mutually beneficial relationship. Both sides are well aware that to contain frictions is the prerequisite. Experts say although it's unlikely that these problems can be solved soon, they see optimistic signs that Sino-Japanese relations are on the track of healthy development.