Newspaper: Time right to enhance China-Japan relations

2007-12-26 22:58:53 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- It is the right time to promote China-Japan ties and deepen mutual trust, an article in China Daily said Thursday, as Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda would arrive here for a four-day official visit.

First of all, Fukuda's visit, which starts Thursday, symbolizes new government diplomacy between the two countries, said the article carried by China's leading English-language newspaper.

Reciprocal visits between the two nations' leaders resumed after five-and-a-half years when then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid his "ice-breaking" visit to China in October 2006.

Six months later, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's "ice thawing" trip to Japan this April further warmed the bilateral ties.

"A new opportunity emerged in September for the further development of diplomacy between China and Japan as Fukuda became prime minister," said the article bylined with Jin Xide, a researcher with the Institute of Japanese Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

China-Japan relations have entered a period of steady growth after a series of jolts and readjustments and the resumption of diplomacy between the top leaders serves as an important indicator, the article said.

"Reciprocal visits between state leaders of the two countries are becoming frequent, and their talks are covering more topics," it said.

"Diplomacy between China and Japan is developing to a new phase of learning about each other's real situation and directly speaking to the people of each other's country," it added.

Also, Fukuda's visit represents a new opportunity for the China-Japan "relationship of strategic mutual benefit," the article said.

In the area of diplomatic talks, the two sides have kept their foreign minister-level talks on the East China Sea issue alive. In the area of exchanges between the two countries' armed forces, the Chinese navy's missile destroyer Shenzhen made an official four-day port call to Japan beginning on Nov. 28 at the invitationof the Japanese.

In the area of economic cooperation, the first China-Japan High-Level Economic Dialogue was held on Dec. 1 in Beijing. And in the area of non-government exchanges, the two countries have successfully wrapped up a two-day exchange program.

The article said the success of reciprocal visits and talks on various topics between the two nations' leaders will remove the obstacles blocking exchanges in all areas. And the progress in the various exchanges will in turn make more room for reciprocal visits by leaders of the two countries, it added.

The article said it is an opportune time for the China-Japan relationship to progress, but the tie is also faced with a host of challenges.

It said the two nations have to answer two important questions: "Can China or Japan accept the other's rise? And can they build upa relationship of strategic cooperation as they rise simultaneously?"

Next year China and Japan will mark the 30th anniversary of their peace and friendship treaty and Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit Japan. It will be the first by China's head of state in 10 years.

The next round of reciprocal visits between state leaders is expected to further steer China-Japan relations toward strategic reconciliation and cooperation, the article said.