The 74th "Diplomatic Roundtable" meeting on "The Current and Prospective Situation of China-Japan Relations" Held

JFIR and its two sister organizations, the Global Forum of Japan and the Council on East Asian Community, taking advantage of an occasion of a visit to Japan of a prominent person on international and other affairs, monthly organize a "Diplomatic Roundtable" meeting, which is an informal gathering of members of the three organizations for a frank exchange of views and opinions with the visiting guest. The 74th "Diplomatic Roundtable" meeting was held on October 13, 2011 on the topic of "The Current and Prospective Situation of China-Japan Relations." An outline of the presentation by Mr. CHENG Yonghua, Ambassador of China to Japan, was as follows:

1. The White Paper states "China's Peaceful Development"

         On September 6 in 2011, China's State Council Information Office published a White Paper titled "China's Peaceful Development, 2011." The White Paper gives an account of how the Rising China will develop in the coming years with its growing role and responsibility. It also describes the implications of China's development in the international community as well as China's diplomatic policy. It also mentions "China's Path of Peaceful Development," which means development of the country as well as protection of the world peace. That way, China will enable Asia to develop in harmony and become a more prosperous region in the end. The Peaceful Development that China mentions is composed of Scientific Development, Autonomous Development, Open Development, Peaceful Development, Cooperative Development and Joint Development. China will make continuous and consistent efforts to solve problems in its development. In order for China to do so, the International Community will need to understand and support China with a positive attitude.

2. China's Policy on Asian Region Cooperation

         In recent years, the world economy and politics have been in instability resulting from the Global Financial Crisis, European Debt Crisis, and Democratization Movement in the Middle East. However, compared to other countries, the situation in the East Asian countries has been rather stable with its continuous economic development. Looking back the past 30 years, Asia, especially East Asia, has been very successful at achieving a rapid economic development. The GDP growth rate in 2010 was estimated to be 7%, taking up 28.3% of the World GDP growth. It goes without saying that economic development of East Asia has greatly contributed to the growth of the world economy. East Asian countries not only have strengthened their relationship through economic cooperation, but also have deepened their mutual political trust over the past years. Now the region is taking a further step to promote safety cooperation. However, at the same time, East Asia is facing its own problems. Compared with North American and European countries, each East Asian country has its own social order, cultural and historical background. Thus the means of regional cooperation in East Asia is highly diversified. Regarding these factors and different backgrounds, China's cooperation in the East Asian region should:
(a)  Start from an economic cooperation where there are promising outcomes, progressively followed by political, security cooperation.
(b)  Focus not only on regional cooperation in East Asia, but also on strengthening cooperation with other countries from different regions.
(c)  China, Japan and Korea should properly play their roles in regional coordination through a channel called ASEAN+3, considering interests of other developing countries.
(d)  Find a new approach to address the region's own problems resulting from different historical, cultural backgrounds, and economic development levels.

3. Roles of China-Japan in Asian Regional Cooperation

         The GDP of China and Japan combined amounts to 80% of East Asia's GDP, and their population takes up 70% of the whole population in the region. Furthermore, the relation between the two countries greatly affects the regional cooperation in Asia. Some might be concerned that it might cause a struggle between the two countries for a leadership when discussing their roles. However, this is a misunderstanding. For their mutual interests, China and Japan can cooperate and make a contribution to promote East Asian Cooperation. The two countries are mutually supplemental. China has a big market, abundant labor, scientific technologies and industrial development that meet the needs of developing countries in the region, while Japan has high technical skills, large capitals, good management and operation of industries. The two countries can make use of their strengths to promote Asia's development. Moreover, both countries can work together to propel Asia's financial cooperation. Aiming to conclude Free Trade Agreement between the two is beneficial not only for economic and trading cooperation but also for establishment of a Free Trading System in Asia as a whole. Lastly, environment and energy problems should not be overlooked. China is making an effort to protect the environment and conserve the energy, for which Japan's technique and experience are useful. Therefore, the two countries should try to work together for further cooperation to improve environmental problems in Asia.


The Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR)