VI. Some Sensitive Issues
(1) Issue of History
The correct understanding of history is a sensitive political issue in the bilateral relations. How to acknowledge and recognize the history of Japanese militaristic invasion against China was a focal point at the negotiation table in the process of the normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations early in 1972. The explicit explanation has been made in the Joint Statement and the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which served as the political basis for bilateral relations. The Chinese side has all along stated that " The past, if not forgotten, can serve as a guide for the future". On the basis of respecting the history, the Chinese side wishes to look to the future and develop friendly relations between the two peoples from generation to generation. Nevertheless, the prerequisite for long-term bilateral cooperation is to face and recognize the history. During his state visit to Japan in 1998, President Jiang gave a comprehensive, thorough and systematical elaboration on principle positions of China. The Japanese side recognized its aggression against China for the first time and expressed its profound introspection and apology to the Chinese people. The two sides mutually confirmed that it was an important basis for developing Sino-Japanese relations to recognize the history correctly. On the other hand, however, incidents of denying and beautifying the history of Japanese aggression, by the very few Japanese right wings, took place from time to time.
Since the beginning of 2001, the issues of Japanese history textbook and the paying of homage to the Yasukuni Shrine take place continuously, severely disturbing the development of the Sino-Japanese relations. The Chinese side fought firmly against them in a timely manner and urged the Japanese government to abide by the Statement and promise to strictly restrain the right wings with concrete actions and educate its people with correct perception of history. During a working visit to China in October, 2001, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Museum of Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japan.He expressed his apology and condolence over the Chinese people who lost their lives in the Japanese invasion. He also stressed that Japan would review the history and no longer launch any war.
(2) Issue of Taiwan
The issue of Taiwan involves the political foundation of Sino-Japanese relations. After World War II, Japan returned Taiwan and Penghu Islands to China in accordance with the Cairo Proclamation and the Postsdam Proclamation. The Chinese authorities at that time sent officials to Taipei to receive the Japanese surrender on October 25, 1945, and announced the recapture of Taiwan to the whole world. From then on, in keeping the track of the United States, Japan recognized Taiwan and the Chiang Kaishek regime. Moreover, Japan adopted a "Theory of Uncertainty of the Jurisdiction over Taiwan" as a basic principle of its policy towards China. In 1972, under the "Nixon Shock" and strong domestic pressure, Mr. Kakuei Tanaka and Mr. Ohira and other Japanese statesmen speeded up the process of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan so as to keep in conformity with the aspiration of Japanese people. The Tanaka Diet stated clearly that they fully understood the three principles for restoring diplomatic relations put forward by China, namely (1) The People's Republic of China is the sole legal government of China; (2). Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People's Republic of China; (3)The so-called "Peace Treaty" between Japan and the Chiang Kaishek authorities is illegal and invalid and must be annulled. Through repeated negotiations, the two sides signed the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement on September 29, 1972, in which the Article 3 said: "The government of the People's Republic of China reiterates that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People's Republic of China. The government of Japan fully understands and respects this position of the government of the People's Republic of China, and shall firmly abide by the principles under Article 8 in the Potsdam Proclamation." The above-mentioned facts have shown that the Taiwan issue between the two countries was politically settled through the normalization of the diplomatic relations. The two sides reached understanding on the nature and principles of handling Japanese-Taiwan relations.
China's position on Japanese-Taiwan relations is clear: China has no objection to people-to-people contacts between Japan and Taiwan. However, China firmly opposes any forms of official contacts between Japan and Taiwan, let alone any activities aiming at creating "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan". The Chinese side also requires Japan to explicitly promise not to include Taiwan into the scope of US-Japanese security cooperation.
During his state visit to Japan in 1998, President Jiang made a comprehensive statement on Chinese principles and positions on the issues of Taiwan and the Japanese-Taiwan relations. The Japanese side once again reaffirmed their important commitment in this regard. Prime Minister Obuchi, during his visit to China, made a further statement that Japan would earnestly abide by the principles of the Joint Statement and Article 8 of the Potsdam Proclamation. Japan will not and must not participate in the activities of supporting for the "independence of Taiwan". There is only one China. The issues across the Taiwan Straits should be resolved peacefully through dialogue by the Chinese themselves.
In 2001, the Japanese government allowed Lee Tenghui to visit Japan in name of receiving medical treatment, which undermined the bilateral relations.China waged rigorous struggle, demanding the Japanese government strictly abide by the the letter and spirit of Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship and Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration and properly handle this problem in a bid to safeguard the overall interests of Sino-Japanese relations.
(3) Issue of Diaoyu Islands
Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands (Japan calls them as Senkaku Islands) lie in the East China Sea, around 92 nautical miles Northeast of Chilung City, Taiwan Province of China, which are mainly composed of Diaoyu Island, Huangwei Yu, Chiwei Yu, Nanxiao Dao, Beixiao Dao Island and some reefs, covering an area of 6.3 square kilometers altogether. Of all the islands, Diaoyu Island is the biggest one with an area of about 4.3 square kilometers.
Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have long been the inherent territory of China. Like Taiwan, Diaoyu Islands are inalienable part of the territory of the People's Republic of China. China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over these islands and the natural resources in its affiliated sea areas. China's sovereignty over these islands is fully proven by history and is legally well-founded.
In view of the different positions on Diaoyu Islands from the Japanese side, the Chinese government, proceeding from the development of the Sino-Japanese relations and on condition of adhering to the Chinese consistent positions, reached an understanding with the Japanese government: (1) The issue of the Diaoyu Islands shall be shelved for future settlement, (2) neither sides should take unilateral actions and (3) The two sides should try to prevent this issue from becoming an disturbing factor in the overall bilateral relations.
In recent years, the Japanese right wings from time to time created incidents over the Diaoyu Islands. The Chinese side made solemn representations to the Japanese side through diplomatic channels. The Japanese government affirmed their basic position of neither participating nor supporting for the activities of the right wings. The action of the right wings is detrimental to the development of Sino-Japanese relations and runs counter to the stand of the Japanese government.
(4) Issue of Japanese-American Security Cooperation
In 1996, Japan and the US issued the "Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation" and started to amend the "Defense Cooperation Guidelines" worked out in 1978. In September 1997, the new defense guidelines were formally defined. On May 24, 1999, the Japanese Diet reviewed and approved the bills related to the new Guidelines, which meant a new system of the reinforcement of the security cooperation between Japan and the US. The focal point of our concern is that, first of all, it involves the issue of Taiwan; secondly, what is the future orientation of Japanese military. Chinese government has so far expressed serious concern and relative positions on the issue through various channels.
In July 1999, Japanese Prime Minister Obuchi, during his visit to China, reaffirmed and noted that US-Japan security cooperation system was completely for the purpose of defense, not targeting at any specific country or region. The bills related to the Japan-US defense cooperation guidelines would not go beyond the objectives and scope of US-Japan Security Cooperation Treaty. The bills said clearly that the activities of the Self-Defense Force should be approved by Japanese Diet. The Self-Defense Force should restrain from using force or threatening to use force abroad. As to whether "the situation in the areas surrounding Japan" and what measures should be taken, Japan would make judgment by itself out of the consideration of ensuring its own national interests. At the same time, Japan believed that a friendly relationship with China would be of important interests to Japan. With the introspection of the past, Japan would take the road of a peaceful country under the peaceful situation. Japan would adhere to the "the Policy of Defense Limited to its Own Territory and Coastal Water" and abide by the Three Principles of Non-Nuclearization, and insist on the policy of not seeking for a military power. The Chinese side emphasized that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of China. Any action of including Taiwan into the scope of US-Japan security cooperation, either directly or indirectly, will be strongly opposed and unacceptable to the Chinese government and people. The Japanese side should take concrete actions in honoring its solemn commitments so far it had made and dispel, in a convincing manners, the doubts and worries on the orientation of the Japanese military from the neighboring countries, including China.
(5) Issue of War Reparations
The War of Japanese aggression against China inflicted extremely grave disasters on the Chinese people. China and its people suffered a tremendous loss. As the old saying "The past, if not forgotten, can serve as a guide for the future" goes, such a miserable history should be borne in mind. Nevertheless, it should be noted that it was a few militarists who launched the war and should take the primary responsibilities. The Japanese people were also the victims of the war. It has been always the policy of our party and government to draw a clear distinction between the few militarists and Japanese people. During the negotiation of normalization of diplomatic relation in 1972, the Japanese government stated that it keenly felt and introspected the severe responsibilities arising from the war for the Chinese people. Taking this into consideration, the Chinese government decided to waive the claim of war reparations, which was written into the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement in 1972. The Treaty of Peace and Friendship, approved by the 3rd meeting of the 5th Standing Committee of Chinese People's Congress in 1978, reaffirmed in the form of legal document the decision of waiving reparation. The position of the Chinese government on this issue is clear and consistent: China sticks to the position of waiving reparation stated in the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement and continues to honor her commitments of international treaty stated in the Treaty of Peace and Friendship. However, as for those realistic problems left over by the War of Japanese Aggression against China, such as the chemical weapons discarded by Japan. The Chinese government, proceeding from protecting the legitimate rights and interests of its people, requests that the Japanese side should take them into serious consideration and handle them properly.
(6) Japanese Chemical Weapons Discarded in China
The discard of the chemical weapons in China was one of the serious crimes the Japanese militarists committed during the War of Aggression against China. This problem needs to be resolved promptly. In the wartime, the Japanese army violated openly the international conventions by using chemical weapons, which caused severe casualties among Chinese soldiers and civilians. When Japan was defeated, large amount of chemical weapons were buried and discarded at the local areas in purpose of covering up the evidence of their crimes. The Japanese discarded chemical weapons have so far been found in more than 30 places of over 10 cities and provinces in China. Eroded by wind and rain of over half a century, some of those chemical weapons are corroding by rust, and some others are leaking, which are greatly endangering the safety of the Chinese people and the ecological environment as well.
From 1989 to the present, in order to solve the problem, the two sides held 4 rounds of negotiations at governmental-level and 4 expert-level consultations. In 1997, the two sides established a Joint Working Group. 4 meetings of the Joint Working Group were held thereafter. Encouraged by the Chinese side, the Japanese side conducted 15 field inspections on its leftover chemical weapons. Through a number of negotiations and joint investigations, Japan recognized the fact that it discarded a large amount of chemical weapons and was fully aware of seriousness and urgency of the issue. Japan keenly regretted for the damages which the Chinese people have so far suffered. On July 30, 1999, the two governments signed the "Memorandum on the Destruction of Japanese Discarded Chemical Weapons in China between the governments of the People's Republic of China and Japan". The Japanese side is committed to solving the issue in accordance with the principles and spirit of Sino-Japanese Joint Statement and the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, the relative provisions of the CWC and MOU. A special office was set up by the Chinese Foreign Ministry as the competent department to handle the question of chemical weapons discarded by Japan in China.
(7) Issue of Guanghualiao
Guanghualiao was located in Kyoto, Japan. It used to be the students' dormitory, its 5 floors and 1 basement covering an area of 2,130 square meters. Kyoto University rented it to the Chinese students in the World War II. In May 1950, the Taiwan "mission" in Japan purchased the estate by the public funds from selling off the properties that Japanese army plundered in the War of Aggression against China. In December 1952, Taiwan "Embassy to Japan" signed the purchasing contract with the former owner of the estate and registered it under the name of "the Republic of China" on June 1961. In 1967, Chen Zhimai, Taiwan "Ambassador to Japan", lodged a lawsuit to the Kyoto Local Court, requesting the patriotic overseas Chinese living in the estate to move out of the estate. As a matter of fact, the estate had been occupied and used by the patriotic overseas Chinese and overseas Chinese students since the Japanese surrender without any involvement of the Taiwan authorities. Chinese Embassy to Japan and Consulate General in Kyoto have all along given regular surveillance and guidance since the normalization of the bilateral relations. The Chinese government also has contributed special funds for its maintenance and used it as the dorm for Chinese overseas students in Japan.
In September 1977, the case was brought to trial at the Kyoto Local Court, the plaintiff's claim on the estate was overruled. The Court ruled that, as the diplomatic relations were normalized between China and Japan, the ownership of Guanghualiao belonged to the People's Republic of China, yet the plaintiff (the Taiwan authorities ) was also considered " to be of the capacity of party". In October 1977, the Taiwan authorities appealed to the Osaka High Court under the name of "the Republic of China". In April 1982, the Osaka High Court named the Taiwan authorities as "the de facto recognized government", pronounced to accept the appeal of "the Republic of China" and returned the case to Kyoto Local Court for retrial. In February 1986, Kyoto Local Court cited the main evidence of Osaka High Court and ruled that our patriotic overseas Chinese lost the lawsuit. In February 1987, Osaka High Court reviewed the case, and accepted the ruling of the Kyoto Local Court. It once again openly conducted activities aiming at making "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan" in public. The patriotic overseas Chinese appealed to the Japanese Supreme Court in March 1987.
From 1974 till today, the Chinese side has for many times made representations to the Japanese side, emphasizing that Guanghualiao has been an estate of China's national property. After the normalization of the bilateral relations, it should be returned to the People's Republic of China and Taiwan should assist in changing its registered name accordingly. It should be noted that Guanghualiao is not just a civil lawsuit but a political case concerns the legal rights of Chinese government, as well as the basic principles of bilateral relations. The essence of the issue is an effort of making "two Chinas" openly by using judicial ruling. The action has violated the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship Treaty, and the bilateral agreement that Japan can only maintain its non-governmental and local contacts with Taiwan. The ruling of the Osaka High Court is not only wrong politically, but groundless in juridical theory as well. It violated the rules of international law on the validity of the recognition of government, mixing up the differences between the inheritance of nation and that of government, and confusing the nature of the property. Moreover, it contradicts certain subjects of the Japanese Constitution. The case is now still pending for review in the Japanese Supreme Court. China will keep a close watch on the development of the case.