Visit to the People's Republic of China by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Meeting with President Jiang Zemin
(Overview and Evaluation)
8 October 2001
On 8 October, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, on his visit to China, held a roughly one-hour meeting from 16:00-17:00 Japan time with President Jiang Zemin. Others in attendance included, from the Chinese side, Minister of Foreign Affairs Tang Jiaxuan; Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi; and from the Japanese side, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe.
The following is an overview of the meeting.
1. Overall Japan-China Relations (Including Historical Perspectives)
(1) Prime Minister Koizumi remarked that this was his third visit to China and he was pleased that he was able to meet President Jiang today despite being quite busy with the issues related to terrorism and preparations for the Shanghai Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Shanghai. He said that he was interested in history and had wanted to visit the Marco Polo Bridge, where he felt the misery of war and the pain of the Chinese people and he saw the exhibits in the Memorial Museum of Chinese People's Anti-Japanese War with feelings of heartfelt apology and mourning. He further said that he thought that Japan must, standing on the remorse for the past, learn a lesson from it and that it must never again fight a war. Moreover, he remarked that he believed that Japan started the war because it was isolated from the international community.
In addition, Prime Minister Koizumi introduced that he had written with ink and brush the Chinese characters "zhong shu." He pointed out that this was a term from the Analects of Confucius, also known as "Lun Yu," with "zhong" meaning "wholehearted sincerity" and "shu" meaning "considerateness," at the Memorial Museum of Chinese People's Anti-Japanese War. He further stated that he would like to develop Japan-China relations in the spirit of "zhong shu" and that the development of Japan-China relations would be beneficial to world peace.
(2) While pointing out that both the visit to Yasukuni Shrine and the history textbook issue are both extremely sensitive issues to the Chinese people, President Jiang welcomed Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to China toward the development of bilateral relations. Later, he made a statement about the history of Japan-China exchange, which started in the days of the Tang Dynasty.
President Jiang also said that a phase of tension between Japan and China was relaxed through today's meeting and remarked, while mentioning the 30th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China relations next year, that Japan-China relations have had both good and bad times, pointing out the visit to Yasukuni Shrine and the history textbook issue in Japan as examples of the bad.
2. Response to the Terrorist Attacks in the United States
(1) Prime Minister Koizumi stated that since 11 September, the entire world has been deeply anguished by the new fight against terrorism, and that Japan would, without resorting to the use of force, contribute in proportion to its national strength as a nation, for example, through refugee aid and medical services. Prime Minister Koizumi mentioned his telephone conversation with United States President George W. Bush on the morning of 8 October, and conveyed President Bush's two-fold message to President Jiang: 1) That President Bush was looking forward to meeting President Jiang at APEC, and 2) That President Bush wanted to build forward-looking relations with China. Prime Minister Koizumi added that although anti-terrorism measures will differ due to differences in conditions and national power among countries, in any case he wished that all would continue to exchange views and cooperate.
(2) President Jiang stated that he had been following the terrorist attacks closely, and that before the military attacks commenced yesterday, he had sent telegrams to President Bush and had a number of conversations with him on the phone. He explained that the international community shares the common understanding to oppose terrorism, but that military actions must have accurate objectives, which will result in high overall effect, and must not harm innocent people. President Jiang added that he was pleased that these viewpoints held by China were reflected in President Bush's comments of the previous day. He also called the areas of cooperation explained by Prime Minister Koizumi understandable, while at the same time asking him to keep in mind the fact that the people of Asia are in a state of alert.
3 Other topics
President Jiang mentioned that he would like to liven up next year's 30th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China relations, and that he felt that from now on the world should be looked at optimistically. He added that he thought we should build a peaceful and beautiful world in the 21st century.
Prime Minister Koizumi remarked that when he was Minister of Health and Welfare, he was in the position to welcome Japanese orphans who had been left in China during and after the war, and that he had been profoundly moved by the kindness of the Chinese people and Chinese society. He further stated that he would also like to liven up the year 2002.
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