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China, Japan Moving Toward Practical Diplomacy

Posted December. 27, 2007 03:01,   


Warmest reception for Japan’s Prime Minister in 35 Years of the two countries’ diplomatic relations -

The Hong Kong Daily Wen Hui reported on December 28 that China is preparing the warmest reception for Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s visit since its diplomatic relation with Japan was established in 1972.

Reflecting the mood, the itinerary of the Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has been drawn up to include several meetings and visits to other regions, differing from that of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who stayed one night in China for a summit talk in October last year.

Mr. Fukuda is scheduled to have a series of meetings with those at the top of the Chinese power hierarchy on December 28, including Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (Number 3), President Hu Jintao (Number 1) and Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People`s Congress (Number 2).

Fukuda will give a lecture at Beijing University in the afternoon the same day, and the next day, he will look around a primary school in Beijing, followed by a visit to Tenjin. The minister will then visit Shandong to view Tai Shan, a mountain where 72 Chinese emperors, including Emperor Jinshi, Emperor Han, and Emperor Taizong of the Tang had religious ceremonies. He will also visit Qufu, Confucius’s hometown in east China.

Energy and environmental agreements are prime agenda items-

China is expected to use the scheduled meetings to discuss ways to cooperate with Japan in areas of energy and the environment.

China declared that it would reduce the amount of energy per production unit by 20% during its 11th five-year development period (2006-2010). Given this, China urgently needs Japan’s energy saving technologies, which use only as much as 8.7% of Chinese energy consumption per production unit. China is expected to make a strong request for Japanese investment in China’s energy and environment-related fields, and further technology transfers.

The Japanese media reported that prior to the meetings, the two countries will sign an agreement on technological cooperation for an artificial sun, the world’s future energy source. In order to modernize China’ anti-pollution facilities, the two countries also agreed to make a $1.8 billion (approx. 1.69 trillion won) joint investment in an environment fund.

Apart from the Taiwan issue, China is burying differences–

The trickiest issue that puts China and Japan in a sharply divided position is oil field development in the East China Sea, where an estimated 94.5 billion barrels of oil is said to be deposited. The amount of oil in the East China Sea is enough to run China for 35 years and Japan for 51 years based on each country’s expected oil consumption measured last year.

Japan, which claims that the oil field is part of the continental shelf, suggested a joint development operation with China in 2004. China refused the offer on the grounds that the oil field is situated outside the boundary of the continental shelf.

For its part, China suggested in March this year that the two develop the oil field situated on the right side of the Japanese supported Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Japan refused. Japan is expected to raise and focus on the oil field issue during the meetings. Yet China is more inclined to set aside such sensitive issues as the oil field and history.

China, however, is expected to strongly demand that Japan respect the Chinese principle regarding Taiwan and that Japan officially oppose Taiwan’s independence and its referendum on UN membership.

The two agreed on the principle of improving their relations, though not without stumbling blocks-

The two governments seem to have reached a consensus to improve their relationship. China is initiating what it calls strategic diplomacy with which it offers a goodwill gesture to Japan regardless of what Japan does, while Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda advocates “Asia-centered diplomacy.”

Hong Kong’s media predicts that the scheduled meeting could produce a joint declaration similar to the 1972 China-Japan Joint Declaration, the 1978 China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, and the 1998 China-Japan Joint Declaration on Building a Partnership of Friendship and Cooperation for Peace and Development.

Yang Bojiang, Chief of the Japanese Studies in the China Institute for Contemporary International Relations, said, “Though without tough problems between the two, the move toward a more amicable relationship is an irrevocable development.”

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