The seventh round of China-Japan strategic dialogue concluded on Saturday with noticeable smiles on the delegates' faces.
The Chinese and Japanese vice-foreign ministers laughed and traded jokes before their meetings, showing that bilateral relations are on the mend.
The smiling faces at the strategic dialogue after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited China in October were closely observed by the media.
The remarks of Japanese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Shotaro Yachi, head of Japanese delegation, seemed to speak volumes about the change of attitude. He used to remind his Japanese officials not to smile while talking to the media but he delivered the opening remarks in Beijing with a broad smile.
There has been much to smile about since the two countries launched the strategic dialogue in May, 2005 when relations were at a low ebb. The talks have played an important part in removing political problems and improving bilateral relations.
Heads of the two delegations reached the consensus that responsibilities on their shoulders remained heavy for years to come.
They expect the dialogue will make the strategic, mutually beneficial relations substantial and concrete.
At the closed-door meeting for three days, Chinese and Japanese officials exchanged notes on how to maintain the momentum of the warming bilateral relations and building a mutual beneficial relationship.
Several events this year will offer the two countries very important opportunities to move their relations forward. They will observe the 35th anniversary of the normalization of their diplomatic relations. Premier Wen Jiabao will visit Japan in April.
The two sides need to work hard together to ensure stable and healthy development of bilateral relations.
Strictly upholding the three political documents signed by China and Japan and appropriately handling sensitive issues can affect the orientation of bilateral relations.
Frequent contact between officials, political parties and the people of the two countries showed how hard China and Japan are working to improve their relations.
At the moment when China-Japan relationship is being put on the normal track, the two countries need to work harder to build strategic trust, which serves as the important building block for a mutually beneficial relationship.
(China Daily January 29, 2007)