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2008年5月 8日 (木)


(May. 8, 2008)

Making the Japan-China joint statement work

日中首脳会談 共同声明をどう生かす(5月8日付・読売社説)

We hope the leaders of Japan and China will work hard to make the joint statement they signed bear fruit--a statement that calls for "the comprehensive promotion of a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests."

The statement, signed by visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda after their summit talks Wednesday, underscored that both sides were "resolved to face history and to continuously open up new phases in the strategically beneficial relations of the two nations."



The statement also said that China viewed positively the steps Japan had made as a peaceful nation in the postwar period and Japan's contribution to international peace and stability.


China has shown similar sentiments since former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to China in 2006, which was seen as a breakthrough in bilateral relations. But Wednesday's joint statement is meaningful because China's stance was clearly stated in a political document.



Beyond historical issues


Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who came to Japan 10 years ago, was at the time insistent on issues regarding the perception of history. The joint statement from that time said that squarely facing the past and correctly understanding history are important foundations for further developing bilateral relations. The statement also said Japan expressed "deep remorse" for its wartime aggression against China.


It can be said that China this time chose not to unnecessarily use the history issue as a diplomatic gambit.


From now on, both Japan and China should recognize their responsibilities as major powers and expand their common interests through mutually beneficial cooperation. This constitutes the core of a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests.


But the summit talks also revealed that it will not an easy task to establish such a new relationship.


Regarding the dispute over the development of gas fields in the East China Sea, Fukuda said it had been confirmed that a solution was in sight. But a final settlement has yet to be made. This issue is a good example of the great difficulties involved in pursuing mutually beneficial relations when such things as maritime interests and territorial disputes are involved.


Japan should expedite a final push to get China to agree to setting areas for gas field development, which stretch over a median line of the two nations in the East China Sea.



Adding weight to words


One of the reasons for Hu's visit to Japan is said to be an effort to ease emotional confrontations seen between the people of the two nations.


If so, China should more sincerely work on its investigations into the poisoning of frozen gyoza imported from China to Japan, and get to the truth. Fukuda reportedly said during the talks that it would be unacceptable to let the incident simply fade away. This is a given, and it is necessary to ensure the incident does not lead to any future snags in relations.


Fukuda expressed Japan's intention to help make the upcoming Beijing Olympics a success. In doing so, Japan needs to also keep saying things that must be said on Tibet. Doing this will then give weight to the joint statement, which states the two nations will closely cooperate toward further understanding, and the pursuit of basic and universal values recognized by the international community.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 8, 2008)

2008580159  読売新聞)


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