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Commentary: Action speaks louder on Abe's intention to forge better China-Japan ties
Last Updated: 2018-02-11 13:14 | Xinhua
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Ahead of the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has recently extended his best wishes to the overseas Chinese in Japan, a gesture to signal his intentions to forge better ties with China.

In his greetings, Abe said he hoped that the ties between the two neighbors would enter a new and positive phase through high-level exchanges, noting that he would spare no efforts to make 2018 a memorable year when both peoples would cognize a greatly improved China-Japan relationship.

In recent years, the leaders of China and Japan have maintained contacts and meetings at numerous multilateral international occasions and reached consensus on the improvement and development of bilateral relations.

For a while now, Japan has been making positive remarks on bilateral ties. During his January visit to China, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono pledged to advance bilateral ties based on mutual benefit and the consensus of "being each others' cooperation partners rather than threats."

Kono also expressed Japan's positive attitude on participating in the Belt and Road Initiative and exploring cooperation in a third country, vowing to jointly safeguard the free trade system, promote regional economic integration, and build an open world economy alongside China.

The improvement of China-Japan relations has thus started to show a positive momentum, which not only serves the interests of the two countries, but also the entire international community.

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to seek common development and prosperity.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which is of special and important significance, providing the two countries with an opportunity to improve bilateral relations.

The two sides have agreed to take this opportunity to strengthen exchanges at all levels and step up mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, which are expected to make 2018 a year to see the normalization of China-Japan relations.

However, what needs to be seen is that the current improvement in China-Japan relations is still facing some interference and obstacles, through which the two sides are required to handle their disputes on sensitive issues in their bilateral relations in an amicable way.

The realization of Abe's vision to forge better bilateral ties requires Japan to abandon its ingrained zero-sum mentality, and move in the direction of peace by treating China as a partner instead of a rival, and viewing China's development as an opportunity rather than a threat.

As a popular Japanese saying goes, "real action should snap at the heels of spoken words." It would be ultimately ironic if this buzz-word eventually ends up in empty promises.

Since normalizing ties in 1972, China and Japan have signed four important political documents as well as a four-point principled agreement. These key four points form the political foundation for bilateral ties and are the cornerstone for cooperation.

It is hoped that the Japanese side will remain true to their original aspirations, learn from past experiences, and truly adhere to the agreements and principles in order to promote the continuous improvement of bilateral relationship.

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