BEIJING, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- After months of tensions, China-Japan relations on Friday showed signs of improvement, with Chinese leader Xi Jinping calling for joint action to resolve sensitive bilateral issues.
Xi's meeting with Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of Japan's New Komeito party, marked the highest-level political contact made between the two countries since the Japanese government announced in September that it would "purchase" part of the Diaoyu Islands, a move that contributed to the disintegration of bilateral relations.
At this critical juncture of bilateral relations, Xi, for the first time, outlined the new Chinese leadership's strategy towards Japan, declaring that China's policy toward developing ties with Japan will remain unchanged.
Xi also urged learning from earlier generations of leaders from both countries, as well as suggested showing national duty, political wisdom and historic responsibility to get past current difficulties.
The meeting has opened a window of opportunity for China-Japan relations. However, Japan still needs to take tangible action to ease tensions and bring ties back to normal.
Yamaguchi has indeed brought a message of willingness to work with China in boosting dialogue, properly resolving sensitive issues and mending Japan-China ties.
However, Yamaguchi's party, the smaller of Japan's two ruling parties, is not necessarily working in line with the Japanese government's decision-makers. It is unclear whether Yamaguchi's willingness to mend bilateral ties will be fully translated into Japanese government action.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is now caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, he did send Yamaguchi as a messenger to China. However, Abe also told media after Yamaguchi's departure that the Diaoyu Islands issue should not be discussed.
How can such contradictory acts help China-Japan relations return to a normal state of development?
It is therefore up to Abe to act on commitments made in a letter Yamaguchi delivered to Xi.
While Abe promised in the letter to "keep the big picture in mind and advance the Sino-Japanese strategic relationship of mutual benefit," he still needs to face history and manage tensions regarding the territorial dispute.
Abe has to realize that strategic relations between the two neighbors cannot be established through mere rhetoric, but must depend on responsible and tangible long-term practices.
Abe also said in the letter that Japan and China share responsibility for the Asia-Pacific region's peace and development. How can a country that does not reflect on criminal acts of aggression or apologize to its neighbors be responsible for regional peace and development?
It is high time for Japan to assure Asia-Pacific countries that it is not only able to make promises, but also has the determination and capability to turn them into reality.
Xi urges addressing "sensitive" issues between China, Japan
BEIJING, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- China and Japan should address "sensitive" issues effectively and in a timely manner, Xi Jinping said Friday. Bilateral relations soured amid Japan's move to "purchase" part of the Diaoyu Islands last year.
Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks as he met with Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the New Komeito party. The New Komeito party is the smaller of Japan's two ruling parties. Full story
Commentary: Ice between China, Japan can only be melted by sincere dialogue
BEIJING, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Japan's New Komeito party leader Natsuo Yamaguchi came to China to "pave the way for dialogue," igniting hopes that the two countries can take the chance to cool the tensions and repair their bilateral relations.
Yamaguchi's visit shows the Japanese government's willingness to open "the door to normalizing relations" with China, which, however, should be finally materialized by sincere dialogue and concrete actions. Full story