FM’s visit to Japan paves way for better relations and regional stability

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) bangs his elbow with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi at the start of their meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday. The two sides agreed to open a fast lane for personnel exchanges this month and to hold a new round of Sino-Japanese high-level economic talks next year. Photo: AFP

The ongoing visit of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Japan, one of the few high-level bilateral exchanges to produce significant and substantial results, has laid a good foundation for the pursuit of stability and the improvement of Sino-Japanese relations as well as regional stability and economic integration, against the background of the intensification of the anti-China policy of the United States, which has brought great strategic uncertainty to North Asia -Is, Chinese analysts said.

Strengthening economic cooperation and mutual trust between China and Japan would also restrict and dilute the US Indo-Pacific strategy, with its military goal of containing China, analysts noted.

Chinese analysts believe that strengthening Sino-Japanese relations was based on their need to promote regional stability and trade, and it was also a practical need for China, as current Sino-US relations are failing to break down. would likely not improve significantly in the short term.

In a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday, Wang said Sino-Japanese relations are finally back on track after years of hard work, and both sides should cherish this hard-won situation.

Wang said China is ready to work with Japan to build Sino-Japanese relations that meet the demands of the new era, and called on the two sides to establish real mutual trust, properly deal with sensitive issues and to advance regional cooperation.

Suga said that developing stable relations between Japan and China is of great importance not only for the two countries, but also for the region and the international community.

Wang was the most senior Chinese official to meet Suga face-to-face, after the latter won the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and became prime minister in mid-September.

Wang’s meeting with Suga took place on Tuesday after a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, in which the two sides reached consensus on a wide range of issues, including tackling the COVID pandemic. -19, promoting economic recovery and mutual support to host the Olympics.

The meeting was the first face-to-face contact between the two foreign ministers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two sides agreed to make efforts for the rapid implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and to accelerate the negotiations on the China-Japan-South Korea free trade agreement and regional cooperation.

Regarding the Diaoyu Islands issue, Wang said that some Japanese fishing boats of unknown origin have recently repeatedly entered the sensitive waters of the Diaoyu Islands, prompting China to respond.

Wang called on the two sides to strictly adhere to the four-point consensus reached between China and Japan, to avoid taking actions in sensitive waters that would complicate the situation, and to deal with the issues in a timely and correct manner.

Yang Xiyu, a senior researcher at the Chinese Institute for International Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the most important strategic importance of Wang’s visit to Japan was that it stabilized Sino-Japanese relations, two countries being at a crossroads. at a time when the rapid deterioration of Sino-US relations has further complicated Sino-Japanese relations.

The consensus reached by the two countries served as a stabilizer that laid a good foundation for stabilizing and improving bilateral relations and future high-level in-depth exchanges and visits, Yang said.

Besides its bilateral strategic importance, Wang’s visit also has a very important impact on regional strategic stability, especially in the areas of economy and political security, analysts said.

The achievements of the recent RCEP, which included China, Japan and South Korea, highlighted the positive role that China and Japan have played.

Based on these achievements, direct exchanges between senior officials of China and Japan will give new impetus to regional economic integration in Northeast Asia, and it is very likely that a new consensus will be reached in China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Agreement negotiations. , which will be one of the priorities of Sino-Japanese relations, said Yang.

Japan’s balancing act

Six decisions were also taken and agreed between the two sides, including launching a “fast lane” for exchanges of key personnel this month, holding a new round of high-level consultations on maritime affairs next month and the launch of a hotline under the maritime and air contact mechanism between their defense departments within the year to strengthen risk management, and monitor and strengthen security and mutual trust.

The two sides have chosen the approach of dialogue on sensitive and important issues such as maritime affairs and air contact mechanisms, which will inject strong positive energy into regional stability, Yang said.

Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the People’s Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute, says the decision to launch a hotline is progress since 2018, when the two countries decided to launch the hotline. direct.

This will help the two countries better cope with maritime crises, dispel misunderstandings and maintain stability in the East China Sea, Zhang told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Strengthening mutual trust between China and Japan and resolving to have dialogues on security issues would dilute and restrict America’s Indo-Pacific strategy, with its military objective of containing China, Yang said.

China needs to strengthen relations with Japan not because Japan is an important neighbor, but also because Sino-US relations will not improve anytime soon, analysts said.

Zhou Yongsheng, a professor at the China Foreign University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Japan seeks a balance between China and the United States because it depends on the United States for political and military security, but needs China for the development of its economy.

Zhou said China doesn’t care about Japan’s balance because Japan won’t completely block all ties with China and look to the United States.

Relying entirely on the United States would undermine the foundations of Sino-Japanese relations, and Japan will not be able to bear the consequences, analysts said.

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