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SHF2018丨Takeo Kawamura: The relationship between China and Japan in the rapidly changing world situation

Author:  |  Publication Date:2018-11-07

It is my honor to receive this opportunity for me to speak at this high level forum—Shanghai Forum 2018. I am also grateful for Fudan University, Korea foundation for Advanced Studies, and the involved parties who organize and cooperate this forum.

Today, I am going to talk on the theme of “the relationship between China and Japan in the rapidly changing global situation” with the consideration of the entire theme of Shanghai forum this time which is “Asia’s Responsibilities in a World of Change.”

1. Rapid change in the world situation

(1) Coming out of politicians with hardline

When we look at the world situation today, I think we can see 3 characteristics. Firstly, politicians in hardline who monopolize their political powers in long term appears one after another with the support of domestic strong political base in each county. For example, in Germany of Europe, we have seen that Chancellor Merkel has started her forth tenure of office. The Putin administration continued to the 4th term in Russia. And for Abe Shinzo, actually he has led his cabinet into the sixth year of his governance. This fact greatly influences on not only Asia but on the world situation with the help of increased presence of each political leader based on their political powers in long term as well as the power of nation in each Country.

The Trump administration has been the second year since it started, he has been giving the great influences on the world by changing traditional Washington establishments in the category of foreign affair, trade affair and security under his strong Leadership.

(2) Reignite of Terrorism and regional conflicts

Secondly, it is the fact that terrorism acts frequently occur in Europe and the other places. We have been fueled with outrage and anger against such behavior. but sorry to say, those acts rather tend to be spread out with the weakening of power in Islamic countries and continue today. In addition to that, regional conflicts that has been the anxious factor in the world situation tends to reignite. Especially, the situation in the Middle East became unstable as the result of announcement by America on withdrawal of Iran nuclear deal as well as tension caused by the civil war in Syria. The situation in North Korea has been also unstable despite of optimistic expectation in terms of changes in phase towards the US-North Korea Summit Meeting that would be held in June 12th, however, in the issue of nuclear development in North Korea, it is not predictable that we can realize denuclearization of Korea peninsula that is verifiable and irreversible. So we can still say that there are too many uncertainties, too many things we can’t analyze, too many things we can’t predict at this present moment.

(3) Reintegration of world order after the war.

Thirdly, there is the fact that we are forced to reintegrate world order after the war. In the US, as mentioned, The Trump administration announced under the America First policy the withdrawal from Paris Agreement that is to agree on preventing global warming as well as conducting policies one after another supported by unilateralism such as trading policy with high imported duty to Iron and aluminum products based on article232 of the trade expansion act. In the Middle East, The Trump administration is giving huge negative impact on world order that they created at the first place by giving up the position as a mediator in the Middle East peace, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem in the addition of announcement of withdrawal from Iran Nuclear deal. With this characteristic in consideration, the world situation is changing rapidly, and I think we are moving towards new Phase.

2. The needs of Japan-China cooperation

(1) The importance of Japan-China Peace relationship

In this kind of situation, the importance of Japan-china Peace relationship became increasing. Since restoration of diplomatic ties between China and Japan, both countries established peaceful and cooperative relationship in many fields, and we became an indispensable partner to each other. This stable relationship between one of the most important two counties must be contributed on stableness of world by becoming an anchor to the world situation in current rapid changes. Of course, we have some subjects and issues as China and Japan are geographically close to each other. However, I think itis quite necessary to respond patiently to solve those subjects and issues hand in hand. People who recognize the importance of Japan-china relationship is over 70%of nations. From the historical point of view as well as realistic and future point of view, peaceful friendship is necessary and inevitable.

(2) Responsibility of regional big countries in East Asia

China and Japan are also sharing great responsibilities for peace and prosperity as the regional big counties in East Asia. We are in the position to make blue prints of peach movement in East Asia, announce and conduct it together. In order to do that, 3 political leaders in the 7th Japan-China-Korea Summit which was held on May 9th, we confirmed the common target of absolute denuclearization in Korea peninsulas as well as continuity of close cooperation for peace and stableness in North East Asia, and promote regional cooperation in East Asia. I myself has conducted “Japan-China-Korea culture exchange in children story book” since 2002 with my belief that is “Children are the future of East Asia.” In this exchange, 100 children from Japan, China and South Korea come gather, stay, eat and sleep together for a week. They interact each other through the joy of reading books and create their own book together that is only one in the world. Even children who are anxious to interact due to language barrier in the beginning also became friendly and it is seen every time that they cry withholding each other at separation. Over 1000 children have interacted through this program that is the 14th this year. The first participants became college students or working people now, and Alumni Association was also established. They started to seriously discuss about the future of East Asia. I can see the bright future of East Asia in them who step forward beyond the differences in their counties.

(3) Responsibility of world big counties

Japan, as a country that targets to be a UN permanent member of the Security Council, and China, as a UN permanent member of the Security Council, have to lead and cooperate for realization of peaceful and stable human society as the world second and third county with big economic power. In this context, China and Japan should work actively together as anchors to secure peace, stability and development of the entire humanity. Against such a background, the 7th three-lateral summit among Japan, China and South Korea has become a global platform to exchange ideas, and especially, a platform to reach consensus on sustainable development, reinforcement over collaborations of medical care and climate change. China and Japan are not only countries with big economic power but also China is the biggest trading partner of Japan and Japan is the second trading partner of China. In addition, amount of Japan’s direct investment to China is the third and the number of Japanese corporation in China is the 1st. Our relationship in economy is intimate and mutual dependence. This relationship is very critical because it has impact to world economy in terms of the size and its intimacy. Therefore, it is quite important to develop relationship in economy between two countries is important for world economic prosperity. As I said, today cooperation between China and Japan is inevitable from the reason in 3 factors of “Importance in Japan-China peaceful friendship”, “responsibility of regional big countries in East Asia,” and “responsibility to the world as countries with big economic power.”

3. Role of China and Japan in the world new order

(1) Possibility of new born in new world order

What kind of field should China and Japan be cooperativeand take a role? Both counties have enjoyed development and stability under the present global world rule and order. On the other hand, as mentioned in the beginning of my speech, I see the Beginning of distortion in the world order that we have kept after the war due to the recent rapid changes in the world situation. If we see thethings that are not fit to the conventional rule, we shoulddiscuss with each other by involving more counties ingood manner. I think we should design cooperatively thenew world rule through peaceful conversation.

(2) The main theme of new world role

“shared future for humanity” that is proposed by Xi Jinping, the head of China, is really proper theme in establishment of new world order. We have common subjects of what role each country should take for keeping human peaceful relationship and stable economic development. (With due all respect, I myself take coexistence of mankind as one of my political philosophy, and am thinking that it is necessary that China and Japan take lead in the global subjects such as energy saving, food security and safety, and dealing with pollutions of the earth.)

(3) The role of China and Japan in new world order Under this kind of circumstance, Prime Minister, Li Keqiang visited Japan in May this year which has been8 years since the last visit. Prime Minister Li Keqiang described our relationship as a ship, and said, “let’s let our ship depart again and go as far as we can.” Prime Minister Abe Shinzo also descried his decision of taking new step to cooperation from competition between two countries under the strategic mutual relationship from the spirit of Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship at the welcome reception for Li Keqiang’s visit. As you know, suitable to the departure in new age of cooperation, many discussions between two countries in the fields of economy, exchange program, sea security and so on have been done and have been quite successful.

(4) Strengthening of cooperation in economy

The strenthening in economy of two counties for stability and development in Asia situation is quite important, as mentioned earlier, China is the world second and Japan is world third country with big economic power. Also, itis the 40th year this year after Chinese economic reform, it is quite important to establish new cooperative relationship in the field of economy to the top of relationship that we have established. During Japan china summit, two counties agreed for the strengthening of cooperation in economy that we establish the new committee under the high level of economic discussion for discussing specific issues in Japan China economy cooperation in the third country. We also agreed to hold a forum as the interactive opportunity for private corporations while Prime Minister Abe is visiting China. The cooperation between China and Japan to respond to the needs of infrastructure in Asia is not only for development of own nations but also contribute on prosperity and well-being of Asian people. The conception of “Belt and road” that Chinese government promotes will contribute on construction of infrastructure in broad area including Asia. On the other hand, with the consideration of partnership in high quality infrastructure, Japan has promoted investment for high quality infrastructure in Asia. So, we are willing to talk to China about possibilities to collaborate on some projects within the framework of “Belt and Road” initiative. So we have strong complementarities, especially over infrastructure building. We have rich experiences in expanding new international markets by maintaining and guaranteeing price competitiveness. The Chinese companies can also make reference to experiences from Japan for expansions of the overseas market to reduce risks. For third party countries, the China- Japan relationship can also guarantee that we can achieve multi win, rather than depending too heavily on some countries. Of course, it is not only economic relationship, but can be also expected to have corporations in more fields. I believe that the days that two nations eager to come, which is the prime minister Abe’s visit to china and Head of nation, Xi Jinping’s visit to Japan are not far from now.

(5) Consideration from the 40th anniversary of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship

It is the 40th anniversary of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship this year. Isn’t it our responsibility to carry the spirit of Predecessors who established long term friendship between two countries and to cut out new path for our mature relationship. I expect that our relationship would accelerate from competition to cooperation with get on the right track of our friendship at the opportunity of Prime Minister Li’s visit to Japan this time. The first step is to “implement the strategic mutual cooperative relationship between China and Japan” as Prime Minister Abe described. Today, I would like to ask you to put all of your wisdom today to have active discussions about viaulized cooperative relationship between China and Japan, and expect today’s discussion to strength our relationship further. The base structure that support China and Japan relationship is to incubate trust. In order to do that, it is important to have mutual interaction and understanding between two countries. I think today’s audience who participate in this forum are making efforts in front line of exchange between two countries. I would like you to take an active role of exchange. I would end my speech by showing my belief that your activities will deepen the exchange, deepen understanding and trust and lead to the property of two countries, stability and prosperity of the region and the world. Thank you for listening.


(This article is edited based on the recording and has not been reviewed by the speaker.)