Visit to Japan by President Jiang
President Jiang Zemin of the People?s Republic of China, upon the invitation of the Government of Japan, paid a state visit to Japan from 25 to 30 November 1998.
During his visit, President Jiang met Their Majesties Emperor and Empress of Japan, held official talks with Prime Minister Obuchi Keizo met President of the House of Councillors, Speaker of the House of Representatives, leaders of main political parties, seven former Prime Ministers and old friends and their families in Japan. He attended receptions hosted by seven organizations for friendship between Japan and China and Japan Federation of Business Associations. He delivered a speech at Waseda University and visited not only Tokyo but also Sendai and Osaka.
It was the first visit to Japan ever made by head of state of China. During the visit, leaders of the two countries, in the spirit of learning from history and looking forward into the future, reviewed the history of Sino-Japanese relations and summed up in real earnest historical experiences, both positive and negative. Together, they issued the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of a Partnership of Friendship and Cooperation for Peace and Development. The document, which was in the form of a joint press communique, defined the nature of the cross-century relations between China and Japan, envisaged the long-term development of their friendly exchanges and cooperation in various fields in the new century, and identified all-round arrangements for the development. The two sides also signed the Framework Cooperation Program for Enhancing Exchanges Between Youth of China and Japan, Joint Communique Between China and Japan on Environmental Cooperation in the 21st Century and the Agreement Between China and Japan on Exchanges and Cooperation in Science and Industrial Technology. This historical visit by President Jiang produced important results in both summing up the past experience and opening up the future.
During the talks and meetings in Japan, President Jiang comprehensively, profoundly and systematically expounded on China?s position on history and the Taiwan question with an eye on the long-term development of China-Japan relations.
On the question of history, President Jiang said that friendship and cooperation prevailed in the relations between China and Japan over the past two thousand years and more. However, he pointed out that the Japanese militarists launched aggressive wars against China several times in modern times, inflicting calamities and untold sufferings on the Chinese people. Nevertheless, the Chinese side had always adopted a forward-looking attitude towards the question of history. He made it clear that only a handful of militarists in Japan should be held responsible for these aggressive wars. China on its part had made unremitting efforts to develop the bilateral friendly relations. President Jiang also stressed that, regrettably, some people in Japan had never stopped to create incidents over the issue of history and deny, distort or whitewash their invasion history in the 26 years after the establishment of the diplomatic ties between the two countries. All this had greatly hurt the national feelings of the Chinese people and disrupted the normal development of the bilateral relations. He expressed his hope that the Japanese Government would learn the lesson from this seriously, do something solid to stop these elements from denying or twisting the history, and educate the younger generation in Japan on the correct assessment of history. Prime Minister Obuchi Keizo responded with the following statement that to develop a future-oriented bilateral relationship, it was imperative to face the history squarely. He said the statement that the Japanese Prime Minister made in 1995 showed that Japan expressed its profound remorse and sincere apology for its colonial rule and invasion in the past. He stressed the Japanese Government would once again express its remorse and apology to the Chinese people. He went on to say that Japan had all along stuck to the road to development through peace based on its understanding of its past and would not go back to the road of power though military might.
On the Taiwan question, President Jiang stressed that the Japanese side, in the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, expressly recognized the Central People?s Government of the People?s Republic of China as the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and fully respected and understood the position of the Chinese Government that Taiwan was an inalienable part of Chinese territory. The China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship confirmed all the principles as enshrined in the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement. These documents defined the ownership of Taiwan politically and legally. Furthermore, they set forth the guiding principles for properly settling all issues related to the Taiwan question. He expressed his hope that the Japanese Government would truly honor its commitment and properly address the Taiwan question. Prime Minister Obuchi promised that the Japanese Government would abide by all the principles set forth in the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement. He reaffirmed that there were only one China and that Japan would never support Taiwan independence or enter into contacts with Taiwan other than those of a non-governmental or regional nature.