By Li Wanmei
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in Tokyo at the New Year's party hosted by the Jiji Press that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship and he hoped that this year can be a year for both the Chinese and Japanese people to recognize that the relations between the two countries have greatly improved.
In response, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that he hopes the Japanese side can work with China in improving and developing China-Japan relations.
Amid the prolonged tensions in Chinese-Japanese relations, Abe's positive remarks on improving the relations are welcome. However, as the saying goes, we should "listen to what they say and see what they do" and therefore we also hope Japan will take concrete actions.
In recent years, Japan has been "staging" similar remarks several times a year. However, it seems that Japan's position and actions have been different. In fact, Japan is making moves that are against the improvement of the relations between the two countries and the duplicity seems to have become "normal" for Japan.
Japan's wrong views on historical issues
The historical issues are related to the political foundation of Chinese-Japanese relations and the feelings of the Chinese people.
Since the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, Japan has solemnly stated its position and commitment to China on historical issues. However, in recent years, Japan has been secretive over the nature of their militarism war of aggression and their responsibility. They are reluctant to give clear explanations and they refuse to apologize to the victims.
Issues such as visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, comfort women and textbooks have made it hard for Japan to gain trust from its Asian neighbors and the international community. It has also become an obstacle towards the development of Chinese-Japanese relations.
Japan challenges China's core interests
The Japanese government tries to create "two Chinas" and "one China, one Taiwan" by acquiescing in the naming of non-governmental organizations from time to time. The Diaoyu Dao and its adjacent islets have been the inherent territories of China since ancient times but Japan has staged a series of farce and friction in an attempt to confuse the public and realize "de facto control."
It must be pointed out that those practices can not in any way change the objective facts about the Diaoyu Dao and can hardly shake the firm determination of the Chinese side to safeguard the sovereignty over the Diaoyu Dao.
China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters and has always been committed to resolving disputes peacefully through consultations and negotiations with the relevant parties and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea. Japan, as a country outside the area, has been ignoring the truth and has repeatedly made false remarks.
Japan slanders China in military development
While China unswervingly follows the road of peaceful development, Japan has often accused China of increasing military spending and the "lack of transparency." It even uses the "China threat theory" as an excuse to develop its military power and lift the collective self-defense ban.
A series of moves by Japan including the promotion of "overlooking the global diplomacy", the advancement of "proactive pacifism" and the TPP, and the marketing of the concept of "Indo-Pacific Strategy" have all targeted China to certain extent.
Leaders of China and Japan have met on many international multilateral occasions in recent years, and the relations between China and Japan are facing opportunities for further improvement and development.
However, the fundamentals still remain fragile and complicated. It is still a long way to go to bring Chinese-Japanese relations back to the path of proper development. What the Japanese government needs to understand is that each territory dispute, each visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and each tampering with history hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, and erode the mutual trust between the two countries.
China and Japan are close neighbors separated by a strip of water. The long-term healthy and stable development between the two countries conforms to the interests of the two countries and their people and is also conducive to regional peace and stability.
We hope that Japan can honor its promise and match words with deeds and work with China under the four political documents between the two sides and the four-point principled agreement, and seize the opportunity presented by the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Peace and Friendship Treaty to create favorable conditions for all-around exchanges and cooperation and work for the improvement and development of China-Japan relations.