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Where is the 'gate' to China-Japan dialogue?

Updated: 2014-02-28 16:30

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe performed another "dialogue show" when he delivered a policy speech on Jan. 24. Speaking on China-Japan ties, he claimed: "The gate of conversation is always open. We should not adopt an attitude that dialogue is impossible if issues are not resolved. This is exactly why dialogue must take place."

What Abe intends is very clear. He seeks to blame China for the deterioration in China-Japan relations on the basis that China has closed the door of conversation and is not sincere about solving problems. Since ties began to worsen, Abe has regularly played the "conversation" card to avoid diplomatic difficulties, seeking to win moral sympathy from the international community.

Abe has claimed that the gate is always open, but no one can see it. What we actually see are walls that the Abe cabinet has built to block the way to conversation.

Japan insists that the Diaoyu Islands belong to Japan and there is no room for negotiations with China. How to negotiate if there is no room? In another example, some Japanese politicians of conscience have sought to examine their conscience with regard to Japan’s war crimes. However, the Abe cabinet on the one hand denies them completely, while on the other hand offering absurd justifications for them.

How to negotiate in the face of such inconsistencies?

Furthermore, Japan set up its air defense identification zone in 1945, which covers a large part of China’s continental shelf. What is there to criticize if China establishes its own East China Sea air defense identification area to defend its sovereignty and security?

How to negotiate if Japan adopts double standards?

If Japan truly wants to open the gate to dialogue, it should stick to the principle of shelving differences and seeking joint development; it should admit its war crimes and recognize the principles of the postwar international order; it should accept the fact that China has set up its own air defense identification zone or at least abandon its double standards.

The normal development of China-Japan relations is beneficial, not only to both counties but also to the Asian-Pacific region. If Japan does no more than paint a gate on the wall, China will not take its position seriously.

The article is edited and translated from《对话的"大门"在哪儿》, source: People's Daily, author: Jin Caiwei.