Beijing, Tokyo agree to improve ties in 2011
Updated: 2011-03-02 07:00
Favorable atmosphere sought for 40th anniversary of relationship
BEIJING - Beijing and Tokyo agreed on Monday that 2011 would be a defining year for bilateral relations, marking a bid to smooth ties after the maritime dispute last September.
The agreement was reached at the 11th China-Japan strategic dialogue in Tokyo, between Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and his Japanese counterpart Kenichiro Sasae, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
These were the first ministerial-level talks since bilateral ties soured following a series of diplomatic rows sparked by the fishing boat collision last year near the Diaoyu Islands.
Labeling 2011 as "important and crucial" for bilateral relations, the two countries vowed to patch up ties, the statement said.
The two vice-ministers agreed to "make joint efforts to create a favorable atmosphere and the conditions to mark next year's 40th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China relations", according to the statement.
They also agreed to promote mutual trust, deepen areas of cooperation and settle sensitive issues appropriately, it added.
Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported that the dialogue also included discussions on future meetings between the countries' leaders and the development of gas fields in the East China Sea.
Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara told Zhang on Monday that a win-win relationship would contribute to stability in the region and the world, Kyodo said.
Strategic dialogue is the top mechanism among all forms of consultation between China and Japan and therefore "plays an instrumental role in restoring strained relations", said Wu Huaizhong, a researcher at the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"Though stalled since June 2009, the dialogue has embraced strategic and security issues of common concern between China and Japan. The resumption of the talks shows the determination of both sides to reinvigorate ties," Wu said.
Wu said East Asia has entered a phase of "transition", where Japan is unnecessarily worried about China's impressive economic performance. Frequent military drills and a stalemate on the Korean Peninsula have further complicated the situation in the region, Wu added.
"This year will be critical, as the two countries have an opportunity to mend ties and enhance trust," Wu said.
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