China and Japan have signed a historic deal agreeing to inaugurate a new chapter of friendship in their relations. The agreement was announced after summit talks between China's President Hu Jintao and Japanese premier Yasuo Fukuda in Tokyo. The two leaders have also pledged to hold annual meetings and resolve a dispute over maritime gas deposits. President Hu Jintao is currently on a five day visit to Japan, which marks the first in 10 years by a Chinese president.
Chinese President Hu Jintao, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda after holding a joint press conference in Tokyo
Unlike many previous meetings, which were dominated by references to bitter war time history, this Sino-Japanese summit was all about putting the past on the backburner and looking forward to the future. The two countries signed a historic deal agreeing to a "new starting point" in their relations. Addressing a joint press conference after the talks, President Hu jintao said the two countries have no other option but to take the path of peace, friendship and cooperation: “Relations between China and Japan are at new historical starting point. We have a new chance to develop further our bilateral ties. Both countries should work towards expanding their co-operation.”
Deepening Mutual Ties
The deal is the fourth such agreement between the two nations since 1972. The two sides confirmed that they will boost their co-operation and will pose no threat to each other. They also promised to hold annual summits to ease decades of tension.
Japanese premier Fukuda said the move will help to deepen mutual trust: “Japan and China must work towards deepening mutual confidence and understanding, as also towards a broad-based positive cooperation which will beneficial for the future of Asia and of the world.”
The two sides also issued a statement on fighting global warming and pledged cooperation on investigating the case of food poisoning caused by China-made frozen dumplings called Gyoza in Japan earlier this year. Hu said his country places “great importance'' on the food safety issue and will get to the bottom of the incident.
Dialogue to continue
Also on the agenda were discussions on the tussle between the two nations over lucrative gas fields in the East China Sea. Both nations have been claiming their rights to these gas fields. And, as premier Fukuda said, they will continue their consultations on the issue. ”With reference to the gas fields in the East China Sea, we have agreed to discuss the details intensively, and there is a possibility that we can find a solution acceptable to both sides soon.“
However Fukuda did not give a concrete date for clinching a deal.
On the issue of Tibet, Fukuda voiced international concerns and urged the Chinese president to resolve the crisis. Hu informed Fukuda about the recent talks with the envoys of the Dalai Lama, but reiterated that the Dalai Lama must stop "instigating violence“ as well as cease demands for full independence for the talks to succeed. The Tibetan Leader has, however, denied any role in the unrest and has often said that he is seeking only greater autonomy.
Leaving no stones unturned, the Chinese president has also revived the so-called panda diplomacy with Japan. He has offered to lend a pair of giant pandas for Toyko’s Ueno Zoo. The only panda at the Zoo died last month.
Later in the day, Hu received a red carpet welcome at the royal palace in central Tokyo and attended a dinner hosted by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. On Thursday, Hu will hold a lecture at the Waseda University in Tokyo and will then travel to Kyoto.