This year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of the diplomatic ties between China and Japan. How should the Sino-Japanese relationship over the past four decades be evaluated? What achievements, challenges, and expectations most frequently arise in mutual communication? What roles will China and Japan play on Asian and global stages? On February 29, 2012, Tang Jiaxuan, Chair of the Chinese Delegation to the China-Japan Friendship Committee for the 21st Century, sat down with fellow committee members Ye Xiaowen, Zhou Mingwei, Wei Jiafu, and Xue Wei to discuss these questions in Beijing. Zhou Mingwei, also President of China International Publishing Group, presided over the symposium, at which participants revealed objective analyses and rational evaluations as well as sharing in-depth, innovative opinions on Sino-Japanese relations over the past 40 years from a wide range of perspectives. Here are some highlights of the symposium.
Achievements Made and Lessons Learned
Tang Jiaxuan: I’m deeply impressed by the development of China-Japan relations since the normalization of diplomatic ties between the two countries 40 years ago. The tremendous progress achieved over the past four decades was unimaginable before. I clearly remember that in 1972, when China and Japan resumed diplomatic relations, trade volume between the two countries was only US$1 billion, and flow of personnel between the two countries was 10,000. In 2011, China-Japan trade volume reached US$342.9 billion, increasing 340 times over 1972, while personnel exchange between the two countries grew more than 500 times to 5.28 million. The rapid development of China-Japan relations is in the best interests of both sides, and has brought material benefits for people of both countries and accelerated their respective progress. Furthermore, it has contributed to the peace and prosperity of Asia and even the world.
Today, the China-Japan relationship is standing on new historical footing while arriving at a critical juncture. It is facing many opportunities as well as enormous challenges. In my opinion, the following principles must be followed to maintain healthy development of China-Japan relations: