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Japan urged to remove hurdles to relations

By ZHANG YUNBI | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-04-02 23:56


Visit: Japan should handle wastewater responsibly

Senior officials in Beijing have urged Tokyo to subscribe to a proper perception of China, appropriately control bilateral divergences and "remove obstacles and burdens" bothering Sino-Japanese ties.

They made the call when meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Beijing. Hayashi was in China over the weekend on his first visit to the country in his current capacity.

The meetings on Sunday sent a clear warning to Tokyo that the relations between China and Japan, the world's second- and third-largest economies, respectively, will fray further if Japan fails to alter its policy regarding Taiwan or continues to echo Washington's plan to contain China geopolitically and economically, observers said.

Premier Li Qiang told Hayashi that Tokyo should work toward the same goal with Beijing, manage differences properly and build a relationship that fits the needs of the new era.

Major issues, including historical concerns and the Taiwan question, are pivotal to the political foundation of bilateral ties and should be properly tackled with sincerity and credibility, Li said, adding that the two countries are important economic and trade partners, and should achieve a higher level of mutual benefits.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang told Hayashi that the two sides should push their ties to "rule out disturbances, overcome challenges and move forward".

The Taiwan question is "at the core of China's core interests" and it is pivotal to the political foundation of bilateral ties, Qin echoed the premier when urging Tokyo to honor past commitments, refrain from meddling in matters involving the Taiwan region and keep from damaging China's sovereignty.

The United States recently asked Japan and the Netherlands to join forces with it to restrain or ban exports to China in semiconductor-related sectors.

Last week, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao warned that the production chain built by Chinese and Japanese firms will be "considerably damaged" if Tokyo is subject to such US-led "suppression".

"The Japanese semiconductor industry may lose China — its largest market — and will find it hard to secure the sustainability of its own development," Wu said.

On Sunday, Qin told Hayashi that the US had dealt a heavy blow to Japan's semiconductor sector, with an outright bullying approach in the past, and now it is trying to play the same trick on China.

Japan "still feels the pain" and it should not side with the US, he said, adding that rallying against China will "lead to nothing but galvanizing China's determination to seek self-reliance and prosperity on its own".

As Japan holds the presidency of the G7 Summit this year, Qin urged Tokyo to "properly navigate" the G7 meetings' keynote and agenda, and do more in advancing the region's peace and stability.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, one of the four landmark political documents underpinning the relations.

Referring to the anniversary, Hayashi said the Sino-Japanese ties "are rich in potential for future growth", and Tokyo is ready to fully implement consensus of leaders from both sides and will stay committed to the four political documents.

Japan is ready to boost contacts and pragmatic cooperation with China at all levels, properly address each other's concerns and push for building a constructive and stable relationship, he added.

Lyu Yaodong, deputy director-general of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Japanese Studies, said the conflict of interests in security, politics and values "should not be Tokyo's excuse for frequent backsliding and violation of the spirit of the four landmark China-Japan political documents".

"Driven by their obsession with (issues of) national interest, policymakers in Tokyo have frequently hedged their bets when shaping China policies, and Japan's approach to China has been drifting between a reconciliatory tone and a tougher tone," Lyu said.

The key to keeping the ties afloat lies in whether Japan's China policy can stay true to the principle of the four political documents, and substantially turn into reality the common interests of both countries and the greater region, he added.

Speaking about a recently reported case of a Japanese citizen being suspected of espionage in China, Qin said the Chinese side will handle the case in accordance with law.

In response to Tokyo's plan to discharge contaminated radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean, Qin said this is a major issue related to the safety of all mankind, and Japan should handle the matter in a responsible manner.

Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, also met with Hayashi on Sunday.

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