Speech by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto
--Seeking a New Foreign Policy Toward China--
August 28, 1997
Thank you very much for the invitation to be here at the Yomiuri International Economic Society. Next week I will be visiting the People's Republic of China, where I will conduct talks with President Jiang Zemin, Premier Li Peng and other Chinese leaders, and today I would like to present my views as to how Japan should develop its foreign policy toward China over the coming years.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and China, while next year will be the 20th anniversary of the conclusion of the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty. As such, the timing is perfect in terms of taking the first step toward a new and more evolved relationship between Japan and China.
(Understanding on the current state of the world)
Through my exchanges of views on various occasions with leaders from around the world, I have come to feel keenly that the international community is proceeding steadily toward forming a new world order for the post-Cold War era. It must also be said that Japan, too, has reached the point where foreign policy needs to be reviewed with an eye to these changing circumstances.
Toward this end, I recently advanced my views on how Japan should conduct its foreign policy in the midst of the eastward expansion of NATO and the formation of a new security arrangement covering Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. Along with our basic foreign policy goal of securing peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan should also actively pursue a Eurasian diplomacy. Particularly in regard to our relations with Russia, I put forward the idea that we need to explore new cooperation based on the three principles of trust, mutual benefit and a long-term perspective.
China is of course a part of the Eurasian land mass; moreover, it is a key member of the rapidly developing Asia-Pacific region. Today's theme, the future course of Japan's foreign policy toward China, is of pivotal importance in terms of the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, China's open and reform policies of recent years have brought about rapid economic development and greatly enhanced China's presence in the international community. This has created an increased need for sound relations between Japan and China.
In view of this new appraisal of China's position in the international community, what kind of relationship should Japan have with China?
In addressing future Japan-China relations, we must first understand the international environment embracing the two countries. Above all, we must understand what effect the end of the Cold War has had upon the world order in the Asia-Pacific region. To consider this question, it is useful to compare the situation with that of the European region.
In Europe, the post-Cold War world order is steadily taking shape.
Europe was once the stage of the world s most intense standoffs, with the NATO camp arrayed against the Soviet-led Warsaw Treaty Organization. In the economic sphere as well, the Soviet Union and COMECON constituted an essentially self-sustaining system, and economic ties between the East and West were extremely limited. Today, however, a completely new framework embracing both economic and political spheres and sprawling widely out over Europe is coming into existence. NATO has adopted the policy of accepting the Republic of Poland, the Czech Republic and the Republic of Hungary as members, while in the economic sphere the European Union is expected to negotiate with Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Cyprus for their admission to the European Union (EU). Furthermore, a relationship of closer cooperation is also now growing between the Russian Federation and members of the former Western bloc, as exemplified by Russia s participation in all discussions in principle at the Denver Summit. It is hoped that such developments will form the basis of the future stability and economic development of Europe.
What situation do we find in Asia?
Positive effects of the end of the Cold War are certainly in evidence in Asia as well. In the Far East, the formerly massive Soviet military forces are now being drastically reduced, a fact which means a positive turn in Japan-Russian relations. Furthermore, it has led to rapprochement in economic and other spheres between China and Russia, once engaged in a fierce confrontation, and has also helped bring about the beginning of talks aimed at establishing Four-Party Peace Talks on the Korean Peninsula.
However, do we actually see the same degree of political and military stability taking shape in Asia as in Europe, and is deepened economic cooperation becoming established as clearly? At this point, the answer is unfortunately no.
Why is this so? Why has Asia been unable to achieve the same degree of political stability and economic cooperation as Europe since the end of the Cold War? What must we do to bring this about in the future? I would like to look further at these questions.
(Differences between Europe and Asia)
What is the fundamental difference between Europe and Asia?
Firstly, I would point to our historical backgrounds.
One cannot understand international situations by looking solely at current phenomena. It is necessary to take a broad perspective that even encompasses history, culture, and religion. Europe comprises many different nation-states, and it is a fact that they have engaged in conflict and war many times in the course of history. However, there is said to be something, which could be called a foundation, which all the nations and peoples of Europe share equally. I am referring, as you all know, to Greco-Roman civilization, and to Christianity. Moreover, no nation in Europe can lay claim to being the one true source of Greco-Roman civilization or Christianity. Greek civilization does not belong just to today's Greeks, nor does Roman civilization belong just to the people of modern-day Italy. When the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius Bassianus Caracalla extended Roman citizenship to all freemen within the Roman Empire, and when the Emperor Gaius Valerius Constantinus I adopted Christianity as the official religion of the empire, a common foundation was established which enabled anyone at all in Europe to contribute to the continuation and development of Greco-Roman civilization and Christianity. This is borne out by the fact that in England until very recently it was not political science and economics, but the classics the study of Greek and Latin literature which formed the core of a liberal arts education.
This common European foundation was not lost in Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union even during the East-West Cold War, and I think it is functioning effectively in the construction of a new framework for cooperation throughout Europe in the post-Cold War era.
The second factor I would mention is the political and economic homogeneity of Europe. The nations of Western Europe all succeeded in industrializing at roughly the same time, and their economic interdependence advanced rapidly. This created the foundation as well as the need for the formation of a single market and deeper cooperation. Needless to say, the liberal democracy shared by West European countries also contributed to this trend. Against this background, and in spite of many twists and turns, the EU has developed steadily. When the Berlin Wall came down, this trend spread rapidly eastward and spurred the emergence of a new framework for cooperation on top of the historical background described earlier.
How does this compare with the situation in Asia?
From a historical point of view, there has been no counterpart in Asia to either the Roman Empire or Christianity. Of course, China has been the center of Asian civilization, and as such has influenced the surrounding nations in many ways. But in the final analysis, Chinese civilization is peculiar to China and has been passed down as such to today's People's Republic of China. Unlike Europe, this has not become a common foundation that allows anyone in that region to contribute to the continuance and development of its traditions as their own. The nations of Asia, while influenced by Chinese civilization, have developed a diverse range of distinct cultures. In the sphere of religion, the Asian people variously believe in Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Hinduism and other faiths, none of which serve as a common foundation for the region as a whole. On the contrary, respect for this diversity has itself been the hallmark of the Asian way of life.
In addition, in terms of political and economic homogeneity, there have been great disparities between the nations of Asia, and particularly between Japan and the rest of Asia, in levels of industrialization. Of course, it has been pointed out that the activities of the so-called overseas Chinese have given birth to wide-flung commercial networks in Asia and made for strong interregional economic ties. But because of divergent political systems and variations in levels of economic development, until very recently Asia has not, like Europe, made efforts to institutionalize or enhance any regional interdependence such as that evidenced in the formation of a single European market.
In my opinion, this is the reason that the construction of a framework for stability and development like that of Europe in post-Cold War Asia has not materialized.
Although these differences do exist between Europe and Asia, when considering the Asia of tomorrow, the following stirrings should not be overlooked.
I am referring to the fact that as many Asian countries have succeeded in industrializing and have moved towards mature market economies, economic interdependence has grown and the foundation for the formation of common economic forums is emerging. It goes without saying that the formation and development of APEC is one sign of this phenomenon. In addition, underpinned by economic development, dialogue and exchange on politics and security is occurring among the nations of Asia in a way that never happened during the Cold War. In particular, I am hopeful that the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), though only established in 1994 and thus just in its infancy, will eventually succeed in generating common awareness and mutual credibility among the nations of the Asia-Pacific region regarding security matters. This change will affect the aforementioned difference between Europe and Asia in their historical backgrounds.
Modernization used to be a synonym for Westernization. This is expressed very plainly in the Japanese expression "datsua-nyuo"--leave Asia, enter Europe. The success of Japan and other Asian nations in modernizing has clearly shown, however, that there is more than one route to modernization, and that a modern industrial society can take root in countries and regions that have a civilization other than that of Western Europe. World political and economic systems of the future will not be conceived solely in the West and introduced into Asian nations; rather, the countries of Asia must take part as equal members in the continuance and development of these. It may well be that the nations of Asia have now reached a level at which they are capable of sharing the sort of common foundation that I described earlier. In this sense, the successful modernization of Asian nations has been an event of literally historic significance.
(How to achieve stability and development in Asia four perspectives)
Based on this understanding of circumstances, how should we go about achieving stability and development in Asia?
Firstly, we must be aware of the diversity of Asia. Even when a modern industrial civilization has taken root, it will not be one which loses the diverse civilizations that have been built up by the nations of Asia; rather, because of the lack of the kind of common foundation present in Europe, more than anything else it will continue to be important to build up dialogue and cooperation through knowledge and understanding of the different histories, economies, political systems, societies, cultures and religions.
Secondly, we must expand opportunities for dialogue. History teaches us that international disputes often occur due to insufficient communication. In view of the diversity of Asia just mentioned, the need for dialogue is all the greater. However, Asia has not yet developed adequate mechanisms, such as those present in Europe, for consultation and dialogue on political, economic and military matters. The countries of Asia must strive consciously and actively at many different levels to identify and construct mechanisms for dialogue.
Thirdly, even as we engage in repeated dialogue, we must carry such dialogue to a higher level, a level at which we will be able to establish concrete cooperation based on the needs of all parties. In doing so, it is important that each country makes an effort to cooperate, sharing their experience and ideas in regard to issues common to all.
Fourthly, the differences between the nations of Asia must be taken into account even as they work to bring about the formation of a common regional order. If one country sought to impose its values on all others, there would hardly be a chance of success in these efforts. Of course, our country attaches great importance to liberal democracy as one value system, but to what degree can we demand others' acceptance of this value system as one superior to other value systems? And what is the proper relationship between the traditional values of each community? These issues have continued to vex political scholars. It will take all the wisdom at our disposal to answer the question of how to establish a new common order in Asia even as we accord the proper importance to the existing structures of the various Asian nations and strive to share basic values.
To recap, the four points just mentioned concerned (i) awareness of diversity; (ii) the need for more opportunities for dialogue; (iii) promotion of cooperation and mutual learning; and (iv) the formation of a common order. Building upon these four points, I would like to examine future Japan-China relations in more detail.
Firstly, we must recognize that Japan and China have different political, economic, and social systems. Fortunately, however, we have historically had broad-ranging contacts, as exemplified by the dispatch of Japanese envoys to China during the Sui and Tang dynasties. Also, because of the introduction of Chinese characters, arts and many other cultural aspects to Japan, our understanding of each other's systems and values is far better than that which exists between China and other countries of the former Western bloc. However, with the great hopes now held for increased contact between Japan and China in economic and other spheres, mutual understanding of each other's history and way of thinking has taken on increased importance.
Secondly, Japan and China must enhance dialogue. Needless to say, many predecessors in both Japan and China have already worked hard to increase dialogue between our two countries. I myself first visited China in 1979 and have been back many times since then, always working on an individual basis to expand Japan-China dialogue. In terms of interaction between our citizens, whereas only 9,000 persons traveled between Japan and China in 1972, this number had increased last year to well over one million. There are now 23,000 persons from China studying in Japan, which represents more than 40% of all foreign students in Japan.
However, in view of the importance of Japan-China relations in the future, this level of contact is still not enough. We must work to further expand opportunities for dialogue.
As I stated at the outset, I am going to visit China next week. This trip will be more than just a single visit by a head of government. I want to make it the first in a series of more frequent mutual visits between leaders of the two countries. In the wake of my visit to China, Premier Li Peng will visit Japan this year, and President Jiang Zemin is scheduled to visit Japan next year. I think it is important that we build up a relationship in which we speak more frequently and informally as neighbors, and where dialogue becomes even more frequent when a particular issue arises between our two countries.
Naturally, the need for increased dialogue is not limited to the leader level. It must be achieved at many different levels. With respect to intergovernmental dialogue, it may be useful to have matters on which the leaders have put high priority handled at cabinet minister level at, for example, regularly scheduled meetings. In addition to such intergovernmental dialogue, there is also a need for politicians to meet more often as individuals, as was the custom of an earlier generation of Japanese and Chinese political leaders. Even more important to long-term relations between Japan and China is increased contact at the grass-roots level, especially among the youth who will lead the world in the next generation.
In addition to developing multilayered dialogue channels between Japan and China, it is of course necessary that we expand the range of fields in which such dialogue takes place.
I doubt that anyone would ever argue that the area where dialogue is most needed between Japan and China at this time is security.
As I mentioned previously, the end of the Cold War is unfortunately no guarantee of peace and stability. Asian nations must strive through their own efforts to create a mechanism to prevent conflict and secure peace and stability. This is the greatest task facing the nations of Asia in the post-Cold War era. Japan and China are among those which must make creative efforts toward this end.
As you know, there are those in China concerned over the possibility of Japan pursuing military power, while some in Japan also point to a military threat from China.
I believe that Japan has learned its lessons from history and that the people of Japan widely share the view that we must learn from the past for the future, without forgetting what is behind us. The year before last, former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama issued these words: "... through its colonial rule and aggression, [Japan] caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. ... I regard, in a spirit of humility, these irrefutable facts of history, and express here once again my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology." I am of the same mind as the former Prime Minister. Even though there are some elements in Japan that are quite capable of arousing Chinese sentiment with their rhetoric, Japan will not become a military power in the future. Our determination to continue treading the path of a peaceful nation is self-evident to us, the Japanese people. Still, however clear this may be to us, we must continue our persistent efforts so that China and the other nations of Asia have no reason to doubt us.
Since last year, opinions have been expressed in China in many forms on the Japan-U.S. security arrangements that form the core of Japan s security. It is essential that this issue too be addressed through continued dialogue to clear away China's concerns. We wish to continue to ensure transparency with regard to the ongoing review of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation. As is clearly stated in the Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security, both Japan and the United States consider it extremely important for the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region that China play a positive and constructive role in the region, and in this context we must further cooperation with China.
Then, in regard to the question of China's armaments, the Chinese government has stated that these are strictly for defense and it stresses that China is not seeking hegemony. China also argues that China does not pose a threat to other countries on the grounds that an objective assessment of the level of China's military strength would reveal that this was unlikely to be a threat, and that China has a tradition of valuing harmony. I do not doubt these assertions, but I believe the best way to have them widely accepted internationally would be, after all, as Japan must do as well, to raise the level of transparency. In this sense, it is important to continue with the security talks that are currently underway between China and Japan and to enhance the exchange among defense personnel.
It is important to pursue talks about these kinds of security issues, through pluralistic, multi-layered exchange and dialogue on bilateral and multilateral levels, and on the governmental and private sector levels. This is already being implemented in such fora as the ASEAN Regional Forum, but we should also attempt additional consultations and dialogue.
Through these kinds of talks, misunderstandings between China and Japan can be avoided before they arise. At the same time we must build a structure whereby both China and Japan can be confident that the peace and stability of Asia can better be secured through dialogue and discussion.
(Expansion of cooperative relations)
The third point I wish to discuss is the expansion of the cooperative relationship between China and Japan.
I believe that the further the Chinese economy develops, the more stable China will become, leading to the stability of Asia and the world. Japan has continued to actively assist in the development of the Chinese economy. I am not only proud of this, but I consider our future economic relationship with China to be of great importance, and we will continue providing economic cooperation.
Naturally the details of this cooperation will change over time, as will China's expectations of Japan. I would like to raise the following as particular areas in which Japan can make concrete contributions in the future.
First is the environmental area. There is little doubt that the explosive growth of China and other developing countries will have a significant effect on the environment. In this field, cooperation between China and Japan has already gotten underway, with the establishment of the Japan-China Friendship Environment Protection Center, but more cooperation between us is needed and we must proceed further toward making an international contribution. Moreover, the issue of air and water pollution resulting from the rapid economic development pursued by China has the potential to exert a direct influence on Japan, which borders China, in the form of acid rain and other effects. It is also important to strengthen cooperative measures such as the transfer of air pollution monitoring and desulfurization technologies.
In regard to such issues as global environmental issues requiring long-term efforts, it is clear that the share of greenhouse gases emitted by developing countries will rise sharply in the future, and it would thus be meaningless to discuss solutions to this issue without the participation of China and the other developing countries. Coming up in December in Kyoto is the Third Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3). Regardless of the agreements that can be reached there as to what extent of concrete steps developing countries will be obliged to take, there is little room for doubt that in the future, a superpower like China has a very large role to play. I believe that one of the most effective ways of contributing toward solving global environmental issues is the use by developing countries of technology from Japan, which is advanced in terms of energy-saving efforts.
Second is the field of energy. The stable supply of energy is likely to become a major constraint on high growth in China, and will inevitably have an effect on the other countries of Asia. For example, in the year 2010, it is estimated that China will be a larger consumer of petroleum than Japan, reliant for 40% of those needs on overseas sources. One way to resolve this issue that I just now mentioned in relation to environmental issues is energy conservation. China's energy efficiency is still quite low at the energy consumption stage only around one-tenth that of Japan. In tandem with the solution of demand side issues, it is also necessary to secure energy supply sources. Specifically, I mean the promotion of cooperation between China and Japan in petroleum development. Japanese companies have already been taking part in petroleum development in many forms, including offshore in the Bohai Bay and the South China Sea and inland in the Tarim Basin. Talks should be initiated so that further progress can be made in future joint Japan-China development. Moreover, while many difficult issues will arise from the global environment perspective as China's energy demand booms, I think that serious debate also needs to be conducted in regard to China's approach to the use of nuclear energy.
The third area is cooperation in support of a further increase in exchange between Japan and China in the areas of trade and investment. Trade volume between Japan and China increased by some 57 times over the last 25 years. Japan has become China s top trading partner, while for Japan, China is now our second largest trading partner following the United States. Investment in China has increased rapidly since the important remarks made by the late Deng Xiaoping during his tour of Southern China, and Japan has become one of the top investors in China, competing alongside the United States for the first and second position. This investment has greatly promoted the transition of China toward market economy. As for future investment projects, there is likely to be an increase in high-tech investments and inland project investments in a form that is consistent with the current policy direction of the Government of China. I firmly believe that this new investment trend will contribute to the resolution of the two issues facing the Chinese economy, namely regional disparity and state enterprise reform.
At the same time, there is the matter of Japan wanting to request a responsible approach on the part of China.
First of all, Japan wants China to bring its systems and rules into conformity with international standards and to enforce them as a model throughout society. To offer a concrete example, while China's system of industrial property rights is already in no way inferior by international comparison, due to difficulties in the enforcement of this system, there have been endless problems involving forged brands. In order not to damage China's international reputation, I believe there is a need for fundamental improvement.
Secondly, Japan would like China to more thoroughly enforce its immigration and emigration control. With respect to the illegal immigrant issue, the Government of China is also approaching this with a posture of strict control and has in fact made considerable progress, but there is a need for an orderly approach and solution, all the more because this issue may impact on the Japanese people s view of China.
Furthermore, cooperation between Japan and China must go beyond bilateral cooperation and be oriented toward international contribution to the entire Asian region and the world as a whole. For example, the environmental issue, which I touched upon earlier, as well as population and energy, are issues which impact not only on China but also on Asia and the entire world, making it necessary that Japan and China share one another's wisdom. If Japan and China further learn about each other's good points in the process of such cooperation, Japan-China relations will leap forward into a new dimension. Also, in terms of how to deal with the advent of the aging society, while China is currently a country in its prime in the sense that people of thirty or less account for more than two-thirds of the entire Chinese population, China will eventually become a society aging at a faster pace than Japan as a result of such factors as the one-child policy. I believe that someday China will share the experience gained by Japan through the process of worrying and trial and error.
(Contribution to the formation of a common order)
As for my fourth and final point of discussion, I would like to touch upon the contributions of Japan and China to the formation of common order.
Today, Japan and China are being called upon to jointly and actively respond not only to bilateral issues, but issues concerning Asia and the entire world. As evident from the military clash in Cambodia and the currency issue in Thailand, it is conceivable that there will continue to be a steady stream of issues to which Japan and China must jointly respond for the political and economic stability of the Asian region. In addition to responding to these individual problems, Japan and China must also jointly and actively take part in the formation of a common order for both Asia and the world. By this, I mean an order which covers a wide range of areas, including politics, security, trade, investment and finance. China at present is vigorously continuing its negotiations with Japan and other countries toward early accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). On the domestic front as well, China is grappling with economic reforms in order to meet the terms for this accession. Up until now, China's accession to the WTO has been viewed from the perspective that China would interact upon accession according to common global trade rules. One must not forget at the same time that China's accession is highly desirable not only for the development of China but also for the development of the global economy and international order, and that once China accedes, China itself must also consciously take part in the formation of global trade and investment rules. This is the start of an era in which Japan and China must see this base of trade and investment rules, as I mentioned earlier, not as something peculiar to one or the other but as a shared asset, and work together toward its development. Of course, this shared base will not stop at trade and investment rules; in the future, it will and must expand to cover a range of areas including politics and security.
In grappling with the formation of such a common order, Japan and China will not necessarily take the same approach, and our opinions will probably differ on more than one occasion. At such times, if efforts are not made to understand the positions of one another, it is possible that tense relations and friction could surface, and in the worst case scenario, that the superb relations our two nations have built up over many years could be destroyed at a stroke.
Japan and China have different histories and even today have different systems. It is no wonder, therefore, that Japan and China have frustrations with one another. Excessive criticism, however, will not contribute to Japan and China's joint efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous 21st century. I believe bilateral relations can be compared with a mirror--a smile reflects a smile, goodwill reflects goodwill. On the other hand, hatred begets hatred and excessive criticism is answered with criticism. We must keep open minds to one another's pains and concerns. Certainly, this is the wisdom that an Asia with different systems must have. At one point last year, dark clouds enveloped Japan-China relations, but China made conscious efforts to improve those relations thereafter and for this I would like to offer my highest praise. In particular, we welcome the emphasis of Chairman Jiang Zemin and other Chinese leaders that China must climb high and gaze far, that a peaceful environment is essential to nation building, that China must promote smooth relations with Japan, the United States and Russia, and that China must open a new phase of foreign relations in a new era and actively develop friendly ties.
Actually, I can say with confidence that I feel somewhat qualified to speak on this matter. I was the first economic minister to visit China following the ministerial-level decision to exercise self-restraint in visiting China, made at the Arche Summit immediately following the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989. Through discussions over drinks, I helped to promote a solution to the problem as then Minister of Finance of Japan. I must admit that no small amount of alcohol was consumed at the time and today I look back with some nostalgia. Now, as the Prime Minister, I want to approach relations with China with the same good feeling and spirit.
Now that I have touched upon the ideal future orientation for Japan-China relations, I would like to say a word about the Taiwan issue.
Japan's basic stance on this issue is clear. In the Japan-China Joint Communique of 1972, Japan took the stance that the Government of the People's Republic of China has repeatedly announced that Taiwan is an indivisible part of the People's Republic of China and that the Government of Japan fully understands and respects this position of the People's Republic of China. Japan has consistently maintained this stance and I would like to reiterate that Japan will firmly maintain this stance in the future as well. The fact that Japan does not support the independence of Taiwan is based on this stance. In any case, we sincerely hope for a peaceful solution to this issue involving Taiwan through dialogue between the parties on either side of the Taiwan Strait.
Here I have expressed my thinking on the ideal orientation for Japan-China relations toward a new era in the context of the dramatic change in international relations following the end of the Cold War.
Since the normalization of relations in 1972, what has provided the basis for Japan-China relations are the Japan-China Joint Communique of 1972 and the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty, which was concluded in 1978. These two documents have become the basis for the development of relations between our two countries up through the present and are rules that our countries should observe in the future.
These rules were expected to serve to normalize relations between Japan and China and to maintain and develop these. Now that the initial goals have been achieved over the last quarter century, and amid rapidly changing international and domestic circumstances, I think that it is time for the two countries to seek further development in our relations from a higher, wider and even deeper perspective.
Today, our nations stand at the threshold of the 21st century and must face an entirely new era in history. It is sincerely hoped that China and Japan will first, move forward by mutually compensating for one another's weaknesses and sharing one another's strengths; second, truly maintain a broad vision, climbing high and gazing far ; and third, contribute to the stability and prosperity of Asia and the rest of the world. This means, as I mentioned earlier, the advent of a new era in which two countries located in Asia will treat as a shared asset the economic and trade frameworks originating in Western Europe and, as two countries each with its own unique culture and civilization, participate in, and contribute to, the building of an order shared by the entire world.
I spoke earlier of the need to see Japan-China relations from the viewpoint of mutual understanding, strengthened dialogue, expanded cooperative relations and the formation of a common order. On this visit to China and from this viewpoint, I hope to frankly discuss with Chinese leaders the ideal orientation of Japan-China relations as they move beyond the quarter century mark into a new era, and to take a step forward toward further progress in these relations.
Before ending my statement, I would like to mention my earlier press conference in which I announced my candidacy for the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party. Here may I express my determination to continue to make utmost efforts in pursuing the foreign policies I have just described and the six reforms and other national agendas, thus completing the current reform process.
Thank you for your attention.
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