• Kyodo News


China expects that high-level exchanges with Japan will take place later this year and hopes the two countries can boost mutual confidence by disseminating “correct” information to the Japanese public, according to a Chinese Embassy spokesman.

In what the embassy says will be the first of regular monthly news conferences, spokesman Deng Wei said Wednesday that maintaining normal exchanges between Japanese and Chinese leaders is “very important for the development of bilateral ties.”

In the past, representatives met the press only to address special events, such as the Sichuan Province earthquake and the Beijing Olympics, both in 2008.

Recognizing that Japan-China ties have been strained by last September’s clash near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Deng said the two countries are expected to strengthen their friendship in the runup to 2012, the 40th anniversary of the normalization of relations.

“I believe diplomatic authorities will discuss high-level exchanges later this year,” he said.

Visits to China by Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara are planned for later in the year, according to Japanese officials.

Deng, a counselor at the embassy, deplored the fact that the number of Japanese and Chinese people who feel friendly toward each other sharply dropped in surveys following the tension over the Senkaku incident.

He said news reports here on the diplomatic spat basically reflected Japan’s official stance and that “improvement can be made in terms of quality and amount” in Japanese media reports on Chinese viewpoints.

“The decline in people’s friendly feelings toward each other reflects the lack of confidence in the areas of politics and security, and we believe it is important to objectively and rationally recognize the other’s development and nurture the partnership,” he said.

The spokesman defended China’s security policy, saying it is designed to be “defensive” and to pursue the country’s “peaceful development.” He also warned that the Japan-U.S. security alliance should “not infringe on the interests of a third country” and ensure peace in the Asian region.

China’s military buildup has triggered international concerns, with critics pointing to its lack of transparency.

Deng also aired concerns over recent objections raised by residents of Niigata and Nagoya to the Chinese government’s plans to acquire land for new consulate buildings, saying it is “normal” under international rules to provide land to diplomatic missions.

“We have told the Japanese authorities that we are paying attention to this case and hope appropriate measures will be taken,” he said.

Protests by local residents following the Senkaku flap have effectively frozen property sales to China by the central government and the city of Niigata.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.