Sino-Japanese ties worrying

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, September 10, 2014
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The prospects for Sino-Japanese relations are worrying when 90 percent of the Japanese people surveyed said they have a bad impression of China and 80 percent of the Chinese surveyed said they feel the same way about Japan, according to the latest survey conducted by China Daily in China and the non-profit organization Genron NPO in Japan.

What is even more worrying is that 32.9 percent of the Japanese surveyed believe that ties between the two countries will further deteriorate, while the percentage of Chinese surveyed holding the same view was as high as 62.6 percent. Both are higher than the figures of last year.

The Japanese respondents who believe that military conflict between the two countries will not happen dropped from 46.7 percent last year to 38 percent this year, while 42.2 percent of the Chinese surveyed think that military conflict will take place between the two, higher than the 35.3 percent last year.

For the leaders of the two neighbors, these findings should be concerning.

But it is not realistic to suggest that the leaderships of the two countries compromise their principles in order to improve relations. However, it is both realistic and possible for them to keep the situation under control and to try and reduce tensions.

Sino-Japanese relations would not have experienced the good days of the past several decades had previous generations of leaderships on both sides not had the courage and wisdom to shelve the territorial dispute and political differences.

Relations would not have deteriorated to such an extent today had the Japanese leaders not nationalized main parts of the disputed Diaoyu Islands and repeatedly visited the Yasukuni Shrine, where Class-A Japanese war criminals are enshrined.

What Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said about the war of aggression Japan launched against China and his move to lift the ban on Japan's right to collective self-defense have made it even more difficult to thaw the chill in relations.

There is a need for a meeting between the leaders of both countries to reverse the deteriorating relations. But the ball is in Japan's court. Abe needs to show Chinese leaders with his actual deeds that he is sincere about improving relations.

No matter how long both peoples have to wait before the frosty relations begin to thaw, restraint needs to be exercised by both sides so that their mutual suspicion does not spin out of control. This is vital.

Other views:

Japan's leaders are responsible for the worsening of its relationship with China, because they insist on persisting with their wrongdoings over territorial disputes and historical problems. Their deeds are foolish because Japan is also suffering from the worsening relations. The Japanese leadership should change onto the right track to avoid further losses.

Gao Hong, Institute of Japanese Studies, CASS,, Sept 5

After two years of tensions, both China and Japan have clearly recognized each other's bottom line. It is predictable that Japan won't cross China's red line, while China will insist on peaceful development without adding too many uncertainties to its relationship with Japan. That might be enough to stabilize the bilateral relationship, but it will not be enough to improve it. The two countries need to work toward the common goal of reducing frictions, so that when opportunities appear they can seize them.

Zhou Yongsheng, China Foreign Affairs University,, Aug 11

Even though it helped China develop in the 1980s and 1990s, Japan has remained on guard against it, and this has caused friction as China has developed rapidly over the past decade. Certain Japanese enterprises have even withdrawn their investment from China for fear of China obtaining more advanced technologies. But this is a strategic mistake. By imagining China as a competitor and potential enemy, Japan is suffering unnecessary economic losses and restraining its own economic growth, thus accelerating the decline that started in the 1990s.

Zhang Yunling, Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Japanese Studies (bi-monthly journal), Sept 2014

Tensions have already negatively affected economic relations between China and Japan. From a practical point of view, China could restart official dialogue with Japan and insist on its claims, so as to win more international support and avoid economic losses on both sides., Sept 2

Chinese leaders' speeches and media comments show that with the country's growing comprehensive capabilities, Chin's leaders are increasingly confident in their dealings with Japan. In the future, relations between China and Japan might enter a new strategic balance and they should be prepared for that.

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