Japan-China Summit Meeting in St. Petersburg
May 31, 2003
A Japan-China summit meeting between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President Hu Jintao took place in the Russian city of St. Petersburg for about 45 minutes in the morning of May 31 (Japan time: afternoon of the same day). The following is an overview of the meeting (also present at the meeting were: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kosei Ueno and others on the Japanese side and State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, and others on the Chinese side).
1. Japan-China Relations
- On behalf of the Chinese people and government, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for Japan's support relating to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak. Also, I offer my sincere condolences for the people affected by the earthquake that struck northeast Japan recently.
- Prime Minister Koizumi, since taking office, has been emphasizing the significance of Japan-China relations and has stated that China's economic development is not a threat but an opportunity and that it is important to build a "win-win" relationship between Japan and China. I evaluate this point positively.
Prime Minister Koizumi
- I congratulate President Hu on his appointment as President, and I would like to make efforts together toward the building of a new Japan-China relationship. This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People's Republic of China. At that time, the prime minister of Japan was Takeo Fukuda. After his retirement from office, Mr. Fukuda visited China at the invitation of Mr. Deng Xiaoping, and I accompanied him on that trip. After that, I visited China as minister of posts and telecommunications and minister of health and welfare, so I understand the importance of Japan-China relations.
- Some people in Japan see China's development as a threat, but I myself consider it to be an opportunity and think that we should build relations of mutual benefit. I spoke upon this point also in my speeches at last year's Boao Forum for Asia and Council on Foreign Relations in the U.S.
- In the pre-war era there was a period of conflict between Japan and China, but that was only a short period. Japan and China have a history of friendship and exchange covering 2,000 years. Japan once confronted the United States, but now are allies. From now on, our two countries should cooperate even further. Together with President Hu Jintao, I would like to organize a new wise persons' committee (New 21st Century Committee for Japan-China Friendship) and promote further cooperation and exchange in various fields.
- Regarding SARS, it is important for us to mutually cooperate for the sake of the world. If you require any cooperation, please let us know.
- Japan and China are neighboring countries divided by only a narrow stretch of water. We have a long history of friendship and exchange going back more than 2,000 years. There was an unfortunate period between us in the past, but good neighborliness and friendship are the mainstream. Thirty years have passed since the normalization of the relations. Thanks to the efforts of several generations in both countries, Japan-China relations have developed broadly and deeply and have put down roots in both of the two nations. As shown in history, it is in the interests of the two countries concerned, of Asia, and of the world for Japan and China to engage in exchange in a peaceful and friendly manner.
- As we enter the new century, the world situation is changing. The world today still cannot be described as peaceful. For the achievement of peace and development, Japan and China have extremely important responsibilities in Asia and in the world. Politicians in the two countries should understand bilateral relations from this strategic perspective and move forward along the trend of Japan-China friendship.
- In order to develop Japan-China relations in the new century, we should learn from the experience and lessons of history and follow the principles and spirit of the three documents (Joint Communiqué of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People's Republic of China, and Japan-China Joint Declaration on Building a Partnership of Friendship and Cooperation for Peace and Development). It is important for our two countries to pursue common interests, to understand the difficulties of the other side, and to solve them. We want the issues of history and of Taiwan dealt properly. We must not hurt the feelings of the people of the other country.
- This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between Japan and the People's Republic of China. I want to build Japan-China relations in the new century in a manner that takes history as a mirror, and looks toward the future, takes a long-term perspective, and gives consideration to a broad picture. I agree that we should convene a wise persons' committee on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary and ask for constructive proposals to the governments of our two countries.
(2) Summit-level Exchange
When taking his leave after the meeting, Prime Minister Koizumi proposed that the two leaders should advance summit-level exchange. President Hu replied by calling for efforts to be made mutually in this respect.
- The SARS problem struck very suddenly. The Chinese government is tackling the problem cooperating with the international community with a policy of facing up to the disease with courage and putting priority on the lives and health of the people. Now outcomes are appearing.
- SARS is not a problem for China alone. China has a responsibility to the international community to prevent the disease from spreading overseas. Everyone, from myself to the public in China, is taking part in the fight. We are confident that we will solve this problem. I want to promote Japan-China cooperation in this field.
Prime Minister Koizumi
- Japan and China can cooperate in the prevention of SARS.
(4) Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway
Prime Minister Koizumi
- Japanese industrial circles have an interest in this project. If realized, it holds much potential for Japan-China cooperation.
- I also heard enthusiastic statements from the three secretaries general of the ruling parties in Japan. At present, China is studying whether to adopt a maglev method or a railroad method. When we reach a conclusion on this point, we will consider cooperation with Japan.
2. North Korea Situation
Prime Minister Koizumi
- At the time of my visit to the United States last week, U.S. President George W. Bush highly praised the role that China had played for the holding of the trilateral meeting. President Bush stated that China's role would be important from now on, as well. I stated to President Bush that the participation of Japan and South Korea in these talks was essential. Nuclear development is not to North Korea's advantage at all. Including Japan, South Korea, and if necessary Russia, we must put a stop to North Korea's nuclear development.
- Regarding the abduction issue also, President Bush expressed understanding and support for Japan's position of solving the nuclear and abduction issues in a comprehensive manner. From now on also, there will be opportunities for Japan-China cooperation with regard to North Korea.
- The position of the Chinese government is that peace and stability be maintained on the Korean Peninsula. From this starting point, we support the nonnuclearization of the peninsula. The nuclear problem should be solved peacefully through dialogue, and North Korea's concern about its security should be dissolved, too.
- It was on the basis of these ideas that China called on the United States and North Korea and realized the three-party talks in Beijing. The Beijing talks are a start toward a peaceful solution; there is still a long road ahead. The immediate issue is the continuation of the Beijing talks. We are open about the format of the talks, and we fully understand Japan's wish that Japan and South Korea should participate.
- We believe that Japan also wishes for a peaceful solution. This would be in Japan's interests. Japan and China should further cooperate and strengthen our teamwork.
- The abduction issue, saw some progress last year when Prime Minister Koizumi visited Pyongyang. There has been a change in the situation since then, but China supports Japan's pursuit of a proper solution through dialogue.
Prime Minister Koizumi
- I stated to President Bush that it was important to call for a peaceful solution of the North Korea problem and that the situation was different from Iraq. President Bush replied that the situation was indeed different from Iraq and that he had confidence in a peaceful solution, although he would not yield to North Korea's threats.
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