BEIJING, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- The China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1978 should be commemorated and followed well, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Monday.
The treaty signed by the two countries on Aug. 12, 1978, affirms the principles in the China-Japan Joint Statement inked in 1972, defines the direction of China-Japan friendship from generation to generation, and consolidate the political foundation for the long-term development of bilateral relations, Hong said.
China and Japan are close neighbors, and developing a long-term, stable and friendly relationship serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, and benefits the peace, stability and development of Asia and the world, Hong said.
Given the severe difficulties in bilateral relations at present, both sides should uphold the four political documents signed between the two countries, take history as a mirror for looking into the future, properly handle problems affecting bilateral ties, and work for the restoration of of normal development in bilateral relations, the spokesman said.
The four documents include the China-Japan Joint Statement inked in 1972, the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1978, the China-Japan Joint Declaration of 1998 and a joint statement on advancing strategic and mutually-beneficial relations in a comprehensive way that was signed in 2008.
Relations between China and Japan soured following the Japanese government's unilateral move in September 2012 to "nationalize" part of the Diaoyu Islands which, China says, have been Chinese territory since ancient times.
Recently, Japan has made calls for a dialogue with China without any conditions, but Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the Japanese side kept acting provocatively while chanting empty slogans "without any sincerity for dialogue at all."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would not stop his cabinet ministers from visiting the Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15, the day of Japan's surrender at the end of World War II.
Abe's words further strains Japan's already tense relations with China, as the shrine to the 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 convicted Class-A war criminals, is seen as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.