Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L, Front) and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda inspect the guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 25, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's upcoming visit to China from Sunday may well serve as a good opportunity for both sides to enhance mutual trust and consolidate cooperation.
The visit, one week ahead of the beginning of 2012 when the two nations are set to mark the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations, is expected to deepen practical cooperation and foster new progress.
China and Japan are not only important neighbors but also major players in Asia and the world. The two nations hold a fair amount of sway over peace, stability and development regionally, as well as globally.
Reflecting on the history of interaction between China and Japan, which spans more than 2,000 years, the two countries have been friendly to each other for most of the period.
However, in the first half of the 20th century, Japan inflicted huge suffering on the Chinese people during their invasion. Even today, a number of Japanese politicians hold a militarist mindset, blatantly distort history and refuse to apologize for the country's war crimes in the past.
Between 2001 and 2006, Japanese leaders repeatedly visited the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, a symbol of Japan's past militarism which honors some 2.5 million Japanese war dead including 14 major war criminals, and incurred widespread protests from Southeast Asian countries.
The stalemate did not thaw until leaders of the two nations carried out three trips later.
Hence, facing history honestly is vital to stabilizing and advancing China-Japan relations.
The two neighbors also have disputes over maritime resources and sovereignty and sea delimitation in the East China Sea.
China's Defense Ministry said in October that close-in reconnaissance activities by Japanese planes and ships against China had undermined China's security interests.
Nowadays, the two nations are working carefully on the sensitive issues and are focusing on mutually beneficial relations based on common strategic interests, despite the differences.
Against the backdrop of a simmering debt crisis in the eurozone and a complicated world political situation, the two nations, both carrying out reforms and pursuing development, need to make concerted efforts to expand the fields of exchanges and cooperation.
Broadening common interests and realizing a win-win outcome are in the best interest of the peoples of both nations, and conducive to regional and global peace and development.
In recent years, bilateral trade has surged and reaped real benefits to the two countries' peoples.
In 2010,trade volume between the two nations rocketed to 300 billion U.S. dollars. Japan has become China's second largest trading partner and China is the No.1 trading partner and export market for Japan.
The rapid growth of the Chinese economy has provided an important opportunity to Japan, whose advantages in technology and capital help boost China's growth.
As long as the two sides adhere to established principles in jointly agreed documents and handle sensitive issues and differences appropriately, the China-Japan relationship will undoubtedly grow sounder.