China, Japan should join hands to inject more positive momentum into the world

China Plus Published: 2019-08-12 23:54:28
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Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs".

China and Japan resumed strategic talks over the weekend after a seven-year freeze. Both sides agreed to push forward the consensus reached between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 Osaka Summit in June. The latest development provides evidence that Sino-Japanese relations, which had gone through twists and turns over the past few years, are showing signs of warming, sending positive signals to the rest of the world.

The China-Japan strategic talks, held between May 2005 and June 2012, helped promote political trust and a strategic relationship of mutual benefit between the two neighbors. The dialogue was suspended after the two countries became mired in a dispute over China's uninhabited Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

But the two countries have appreciated the necessity of resuming the talks as both have come under great pressure from a United States which is provoking trade frictions worldwide, posing enormous challenges to global growth. As the two biggest economies in Asia, China and Japan share a need to maintain multilateralism and free trade in the region. In the meantime, the two neighbors are highly complementary economically. China has been Japan’s biggest trading partner since 2007. Japan has been a leading investor in China. As of the end of last year, Japan’s total investment in China amounted to almost 112 billion US dollars, ranking as China’s largest source of foreign investment.

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two countries. The first official visit to Japan by a Chinese premier in eight years and the subsequent visit to China by his Japanese counterpart symbolized that bilateral ties were returning to the right track. In June this year, during their meeting in Osaka, President Xi and Prime Minister Abe reached a ten-point consensus, clarifying the course of future bilateral relations.

[Photo: IC]

[Photo: IC]

The resumption of the strategic talks aims to implement the consensus, the key to which lies in enhancing mutual political trust and improving cooperation in such sectors as science and technology, intellectual property protection, trade and investment, medical care, eldercare, tourism, energy conservation and environmental protection. Both sides should also take the opportunity of the 2019 China-Japan Youth Exchange Promotion Year to encourage closer people-to-people ties. As the world’s second and third largest economies, China and Japan can also make the Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Area new platforms to promote free trade and multilateral systems so as to maintain world peace and facilitate common development around the world.

That said, there are still some sticking points between the two neighbors. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said during his recent visit to the Asia-Pacific region that he favors placing ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia in a matter of months. As a key ally of the United States in the region, Japan would cause trouble to regional stability and pose greater risks to itself if it accepted Washington’s request. Beijing and Tokyo need to keep their Osaka consensus in mind, properly handle sensitive issues, and manage their disparities in a constructive manner so as to create favorable conditions for developing Sino-Japanese relations in the new era, and thus, inject more positive momentum into a restless world.

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.