Senior Chinese diplomat says relations with Japan at important juncture

China-Japan relations involve a number of old and new problems, a senior Chinese diplomat said, adding that the difficulties and challenges faced by bilateral ties should not be ignored.


June 9, 2022

China-Japan – relations involve a number of old and new problems, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Tuesday, adding that the difficulties and challenges faced by bilateral ties should not be ignored.

Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, made the remark in a phone conversation with Takeo Akiba, secretary-general of Japan’s National Security Secretariat.

Noting that China-Japan relations have reached an important point in history, with this year marking the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between the two countries, Yang said China and Japan must stay on the right track, adhere to win-win cooperation, take a long-term perspective and enhance mutual trust on security.

Stable ties

He called on Tokyo to work with Beijing to ensure stable, healthy and resilient China-Japan relations over the next 50 years and jointly safeguard regional peace and prosperity.

According to a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website, Akiba told Wang that Japan stands ready to deepen cooperation with China, and appropriately handle differences and strengthen communications on sensitive bilateral issues and international hot spot issues in order to jointly build a constructive and stable Japan-China relationship.

Yang also elaborated on China’s principled positions on the Taiwan question and issues related to Hong Kong and the Diaoyu Islands, among others, during the meeting.

Experts said that the meeting came at a time when Japan has been closely following the United States’ “Indo-Pacific” strategy and is actively engaged in containing China and stirring up confrontation in the Asia-Pacific region.

By doing so, Tokyo is also attempting to regain its status in Asia. However, such a practice is not conducive to regional peace, stability and the healthy development of China-Japan relations, and Japan will inevitably have to pay the price for this, they added.

Last month, as US President Joe Biden made his first trip to Asia, Tokyo hosted the leaders’ meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, an anti-China grouping consisting of the US, Japan, India and Australia. Japan also endorsed the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework launched by Biden in Tokyo.

Irresponsible remarks

During Biden’s visit, Japan and the US made irresponsible remarks and groundless accusations on a series of issues related to China’s domestic affairs, including on the Taiwan question.

Wang Junsheng, a researcher of East Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that Japan is joining with the US to counter China as Tokyo is Washington’s close ally, and also because it misjudges China’s development.

“Japan is unwilling to see a rising China because it mistakenly assumes that China’s development will harm its own interests,” Wang said. “However, the fact is that as close neighbors, both China and Japan will benefit from their good relationship in various areas including trade and the economy, regional cooperation and tackling climate change.”

Xiang Haoyu, a distinguished research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, said in an article in Global Times that hyping up or creating so-called external threats for specific political purposes will not make Japan great again or bring it absolute security.

Instead, it will only get Japan into greater security dilemmas, Xiang said.

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