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Launching a new era in China-Japan relations
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Japan is the second largest economy in the world, while China is developing fast. Both countries are growing into world-class powers in their own right. It is a simple fact there is a certain amount of competition between the two neighbors. If handled well, such competitions can enhance their bilateral ties. Otherwise they might come between the two countries with negative effects. The new joint statement has made it clear China and Japan are strongly inclined to keep their bilateral relations in the right direction and realize mutual benefit and win-win results.

On the still-unresolved issue of East China Sea the two sides have also expressed their willingness to work together to make the East China Sea an area of peace, cooperation and friendship. All these pledges are of very positive significance to the long-term development of bilateral ties between China and Japan.

Another key feature of the new joint document is a broad plan for the development of bilateral economic and trade relationship. China and Japan have been key partners to each other in economic and trade exchanges since the former began the reform and opening-up process. Japan was China's top trading partner between 1993 and 2003. China became Japan's largest trading partner in 2007, when bilateral trade value between them topped $236 billion.

Today Japan is China's No 1 source of imports and fourth largest export market. The two countries' economies are highly complementary as Japan has a wealth of advanced technology and equipment that China needs to satisfy its growing domestic market. The bilateral economic and trade ties not only helped Japan end its decade-long stagnation but also boosted China's modernization. Cooperation between the two countries in economy and trade has become a major cornerstone of their bilateral relationship.

The joint document emphasizes the two countries need to step up cooperation in the areas of energy resources and environment, which is an obligation we are expected to fulfill for the sake of our posterities and the international community. Japan is a country short on natural, and especially energy, resources. For this reason Japan has found a way out by building up its technological strength. Japan is now a frontrunner in energy-saving and environmental protection technology in the world with its energy consumption per unit of GDP among the lowest among all nations of the world.

China, meanwhile, is changing its economic growth pattern, which has to be energy-efficient sooner or later, but still has many hurdles to overcome. Cooperation between the two countries in energy conservation and environmental protection is bound to become another highlight of bilateral economic and trade ties and will no doubt leave a lasting legacy for the future not just of the two nations but of the regional and the world economy as well.

The last two points of the joint document focus on increasing cooperation between the two nations in regional and global affairs. China and Japan are both in Northeast Asia, where regional peace and stability have a direct bearing on their national security. The two countries are also key players in the region with a great deal of responsibilities on their shoulders in terms of maintaining regional stability.

The joint document stipulates China and Japan will keep close communication over regional affairs and strengthen coordination and cooperation, such as their cooperation in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula within the framework of the Six-Party Talks. The two sides have stated in the joint document they will continue such cooperation.

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