BEIJING, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Japan's recent move of "purchasing" the Diaoyu Islands has violated the important understanding and common ground for bilateral relations.
The move was a serious challenge over China's sovereignty, leading to widespread anger among the Chinese public.
During the negotiations on the normalization of China-Japan relations in 1972 and on the signing of the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978, the then leaders of the two countries, acting in the larger interest of China-Japan relations, reached an important understanding and common ground on "leaving the issue of the Diaoyu Islands to be resolved later."
This opened the door to the normalization of China-Japan relations and was followed by tremendous progress in those relations as well as stability and tranquility in East Asia in the following 40 years.
But now, Japan's continued provocative actions over the Diaoyu Islands have violated the principle that the two countries had agreed on.
Talking about the Diaoyu islands, China's late leader Deng Xiaoping said in 1978 that "We believe that we should set the issue aside for a while if we cannot reach agreement on it. It is not an urgent issue and can wait for a while. If our generation do not have enough wisdom to resolve this issue, the next generation will have more wisdom, and I am sure that they can find a way acceptable to both sides to settle this issue."
When meeting Suzuki Zenko, a member of the lower house of the Japanese Diet from the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party on May 11, 1979, Deng said that consideration may be given to joint development of the resources adjacent to the Diaoyu Islands without touching upon its territorial sovereignty.
In June the same year, China formally proposed the idea of joint development of resources adjacent to the Diaoyu Islands with the Japanese through diplomatic channels.
This was the first time that China openly stated its position that it was ready to settle disputes with its neighbors over territorial and maritime rights using the concept of "setting aside disputes and pursuing joint development."
The principle does not mean that China gives up sovereignty over those islands. Instead, it promotes mutual cooperation and understanding so as to create conditions for final solutions of territorial disputes in the future.
Japan should immediately stop all actions that may undermine China's territorial sovereignty and come back to the understanding of common ground reached between the two sides, and return to the track of a negotiated settlement of the dispute.
This is the only way to improve and push forward bilateral relations.
The normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries was hard won. The Chinese government has always placed importance on developing China-Japan relations.
Advancing the China-Japan strategic and mutually beneficial relationship is in conformity with the basic interests of the two countries and is conducive to regional peace and stability.
But healthy and stable development of bilateral relations requires Japan to move toward and make joint efforts with China.
Japan should not forget it initiated an invasion war against China more than seven decades ago and was defeated. No matter how many years have passed, defection and trickery will not make Japan a dignified nation.
Long gone are the days when the Chinese nation was subject to bullying and humiliation from others. The Chinese government will not sit idly by watching its territorial sovereignty being infringed upon.