Hope seen for progress in dialogue with Japan

Updated: 2015-10-13 07:43

By Cai Hong in Tokyo and Zhang Yunbi in Beijing(China Daily)

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High-level bilateral meeting in Tokyo comes at 'an extremely crucial time' in the relationship

Analysts have voiced hopes for progress in resolving remaining issues as China and Japan prepare to co-host the second China-Japan High-Level Political Dialogue in Tokyo on Tuesday and Wednesday.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi will co-host the dialogue with Japan's National Security Advisor Shotaro Yachi, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a news conference in Beijing on Monday.

The two countries' relationship worsened drastically in 2012 over issues involving territory and history. In November last year, Yang and Yachi met in Beijing, and both countries issued a "four-point principled consensus" on improving relations, a document viewed by observers as a turning point in ties.

Hope seen for progress in dialogue with Japan

Yachi, a former Japanese vice-foreign minister, is a close aide to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on security and foreign policies.

Yang and Yachi co-hosted the first High-Level Political Dialogue in July in Beijing. At that time, both countries jointly defined the dialogue as a "major measure to strengthen high-level strategic communication", according to an official statement.

Zhang Tuosheng, director of the research department at the China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies, said that the relationship "has emerged from the most serious phase" in the past year but has a long way to go.

This is an extremely crucial time, since it remains unknown "if the relationship will continue to improve, stall or even worsen once again", and the two sides should "strengthen efforts in resuming and expanding political, diplomatic and security dialogues", Zhang said.

Since the first dialogue in July, the relationship has witnessed more challenges in the areas of history and security. China voiced strong concerns after the upper and lower houses of Japan's parliament passed a set of security bills.

Earlier this month, UNES-CO's Memory of the World Program inscribed documents on the Nanjing Massacre from China on its Memory of the World Register.

Over 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers were killed as Japanese invaders occupied the city of Nanjing in 1937. Japan has opposed China's Memory of the World application.

Hope seen for progress in dialogue with Japan

Li Wei, director of the Institute of Japan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said there are areas of distrust in which "Japan is increasingly upset at China's gradual development, and China is increasingly alert over the frequent right-wing stance and actions made by influential Japanese figures".

Leading Japanese media, including the newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, have speculated that the two senior officials will deliberate upon the expected summit of Japan, China and South Korea.

The three countries have not announced whether the summit - suspended since 2013 because of Japan's political standoff with China and South Korea - will be resumed.

Contact the writers through caihong@chinadaily.com.cn