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New age of cooperation between China and Japan
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On September 29, 1972, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka signed the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, declaring to the world that the two countries had restored formal diplomatic relations.


Though of different social systems, the two countries should and can build a peaceful and friendly relationship, which corresponds to the interests of both peoples and contributes to calming the troubled state of affairs in Asia and maintaining world peace.


The Joint Statement opened a new chapter in the history of the two countries' relations, which go back more than 2,000 years with close cultural, philosophical, social and even religious links.


Thirty-five years later, the two peoples should thank the late Chinese and Japanese politicians for their wisdom and far-sightedness in normalizing relations.


Since then, the two countries have expanded the economic and social foundations for continuing reciprocal cooperation not only in trade, but also in energy, environmental protection, finance, high-tech, communications and intellectual property protection, as well as in people-to-people exchanges.


There have also been troubling moments in the relationship, which were aggravated to the point of political stalemate for some five years in the not too distant past.


At issue is not that both China and Japan have undergone tremendous changes and risen in importance in terms of economic development and international affairs.


At issue is history. The Japanese side has already declared in the Joint Statement that they recognize that Japan should shoulder the responsibility of war that brought immense sufferings to the Chinese people and, for that, they have expressed deep reflection.


The history of the first half of 20th century, when Japan repeatedly invaded China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, showed that war and aggression would bring harm not only to other countries but also to Japan itself.


History is the mirror, and the two countries should be able to inherit the political legacy left by their late leaders and treasure this moment of improved understanding, which marks a new phase of cooperation.


Only enhanced mutual political trust, expansion of common ground, increased collaborations in all sectors and exchanges between the two peoples will bring long-term benefits not only to the two countries but also to the peace and development in Asia and the world.


(China Daily September 29, 2007)

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