Japan ties need 'better conditions'

Source:China Daily
Updated:2017-10-22 10:06:39

  High-level exchanges require public support, understanding

  China expects joint efforts with Japan to "create better conditions and shape a better atmosphere" for developing bilateral ties, a senior CPC official working on party-to-party diplomacy has said.

  Guo Yezhou, deputy head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the comment on Saturday in reply to a reporter's question about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's hope of achieving an exchange of visits by leaders from both sides.

  As a sign of the chilled ties, observers noted that Abe, who started his second term as prime minister in 2012, has not made an official state visit to China, though he did travel to Beijing in 2014 and Hangzhou last year for international meetings.

  "An exchange of high-level visits between the two countries requires the support of public opinion and the understanding of the general public," Guo said at a news conference on Saturday amid the ongoing 19th CPC National Congress.

  Experts said ties remain fragile, partly because of historical and territorial issues. Abe has just sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors 14 Class A convicted war criminals from World War II.

  Guo, a veteran Party diplomat, said bilateral relations face both "important new opportunities and challenges".

  He noted that the ruling parties of both sides have an institutionalized platform for contacts, and they convened their sixth meeting in August to express willingness to further promote China-Japan ties.

  Gao Hong, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Japan Studies, said Japanese politicians should "make wise decisions to prevent relations from derailing", although ties have shown signs of warming recently.

  Given the structural contradictions between the two countries, sensitive historical issues and territorial disputes, leaders from both sides should "gradually accumulate mutual trust", while bilateral grassroots exchanges should be enhanced, Gao said.

  In addition, Guo referred to two key anniversaries shared by both countriesthis year, as the 45th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral diplomatic ties; and next year, as the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship. It is hoped joint efforts can better mark the two anniversaries, Guo said.

  Speaking on the role of interparty diplomacy in boosting China's ties with its neighbors, Guo said the meetings of top party leaders between China, Vietnam and Laos have charted a course for respective bilateral ties.

  At the news conference, a reporter asked about contacts between the CPC and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's ruling Workers' Party of Korea, as well as about overall relations between China and the DPRK.

  Guo said Beijing and Pyongyang are maintaining their traditional friendly and cooperative relationship. "Maintaining, developing and consolidating friendly and cooperative China-DPRK relations not only serve the interests of both sides, but also bear great significance to regional peace and stability," he said.

  He said communication between the two ruling parties plays an important role in pushing forward bilateral relations, as they have a tradition of friendly exchanges.

  "As for when, and at what level, the two sides will carry out personnel exchanges, that depends on the needs and convenience of both sides," Guo added.