Co-op key to improving China-Japan ties: Tang

Updated: 2011-10-24 07:06

By Zhao Shengnan and Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Former state councilor Tang Jiaxuan said China-Japan relations can develop only through cooperation and properly resolving sensitive issues.

Tang made the remarks in Beijing on Sunday during the third annual meeting of the Fifth 21st Century Committee for China-Japan Friendship, an advisory panel to both governments.

Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic ties, and Tang urged both countries to seize the opportunity to enlarge cooperation, enhance mutual understanding and trust, and deepen the friendship between the two peoples.

Tang's speech followed a call for stronger bilateral ties from former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama.

Hatoyama addressed the 12th Western China International Cooperation Forum held in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province on Oct 20.

He stressed the importance of China-Japan cooperation on medium and small-sized enterprises, environmental protection and the reconstruction of the earthquake-stricken areas, during the speech and his meeting with Sichuan officials.

Japan-China Friendship Association Chairman Kato Koichi will arrive in China on Wednesday to kick off his two-day visit to Beijing, the China-Japan Friendship Association said.

Meanwhile, Toshihiro Nikai, former Japanese trade and industry minister, may visit China' southwestern city of Chongqing, the municipality's Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office told China Daily.

The frequent exchanges indicate both sides' readiness to strengthen China-Japan relations, said Guan Litong, secretary-general of the China-Japan Friendship Association.

China-Japan relations were a highlight of Hatoyama's cabinet from 2009 to 2010, said Lu Yaodong, a Japanese studies expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, but the diplomatic strategy being carried out by current Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda shifts Japan's focus to the United States and Washington's allies in Asia.

Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa urged politicians in both countries to exchange views more frequently to clear up misunderstandings.

"Cultural contacts such as animation festivals and music concerts also help to deepen mutual understanding," said Niwa when addressing students at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Oct 19.

Noda is scheduled to visit China later this year, Niwa added.

Cultural and public contacts are the best ways to boost ties, especially for Chinese and Japanese people, whose feelings toward each other have been through many ups and downs, said Yang Bojiang, a professor of Japanese studies at the Beijing-based University of International Relations.