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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:53 03/09/2007
News Review #204: April 5, 2004

Premier: China committed to Sino-Japanese friendship

Reviewed by Hitoshi URABE

"Premier: China committed to Sino-Japanese friendship"
People's Daily (China)


The report summarizes, from the Chinese side, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi's visit to Beijing. The general tone of the article is calm, without provocative or threatening comments at all. In fact, it could even be considered positive and forward-looking, considering the recent, as well as historical, circumstances.

Ms Kawaguchi's visit could well have been cancelled immediately before the visit, either by the Japan side canceling the trip, or the China side refusing to accept her as a guest of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. It was only a week ago, on March 25, a group of "activists" from China landed on one of "Senkaku" Islands and were detained by Japanese officials, to which China warned not to harm them, with a comment saying that the islands are Chinese territory. (The incident is covered in #202 of this Review.) As commented at the time, both Japanese and Chinese media reported the incident calmly, with the apparent intention not to fuel it for it to become a serious confrontation between the two countries, while carefully assessing and coddling the naive sentiment of both peoples.

In fact, there was another small incident. It is well known, at least in Japan, that Japan provides ODA to China. (ODA - Official Development Assistance is provided to those countries that need to be assisted in their economic growth.) For a quarter of a century, Japan has provided cumulatively 3 trillion yen to China. The amount has been decreasing in recent years, but even this year Japan decided to offer 96.7 billion yen, falling short of the 100 billion yen mark for the first time in 14 years. Some senior members of ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have been reported to question the policy by saying, "China has launched a manned spacecraft and is now a country that can solve its own problems," and, "Why do we need to continue offering so much assistance to China when Beijing is itself providing ODA to other countries?"

The ODA was to be concluded by signing certain documents by both Japan and China, and, according to customs, a signing ceremony was scheduled in Beijing, on March 30. However, the Chinese official cancelled attending the ceremony the day before. It did raise eyebrows of some Japanese people who were noticed the small report on media of the incident, but there were very few who condemned the Chinese.

There have been a number of articles coming out of China on Ms Kawaguchi's visit. The one introduced above is illustrious in that it cites the comment of the Premier Wen Jiabao and was carried by People Daily, often considered to reflect the view of the government.

As reported in the various articles, and as was well known at the outset, each stressed their view and remained apart on the Senkaku issue and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine. But as seen in the introduced article, while citing their assertion without compromise the bottom line expressed was that, "Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirmed the policy of the Chinese government to commit to the growth of Sino-Japanese friendship."

It is an encouraging sign that although there are disputes and differences of opinions in various facets of relationship between the two countries, senior officials of neither countries seems to be seeking hasty and fruitless solutions, but rather places emphasis on the importance of amicable relationship, on which productive cooperation could be sought.

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications