Does Japan-China relationship change?


Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Beijing on Nov. 10, 2014.

The meeting lasted just 25 minutes. President Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan tried a new beginning; however, the atmosphere is not that optimistic.

Through body language, two leaders seemed a little awkward. Before they were seated, Premier Abe spoke to President Xi. Cameras caught that instead of listening and answering, Xi turned toward the photographers to snap an awkward, less enthusiastic handshake.

“Obviously, Xi did not want to create a warm or courteous atmosphere,” said Kazuhiko Togo, director of the Institute for World Affairs at Kyoto Sangyo University interviewing with The New York Times. “It was a very delicate balancing act for Xi.”

Chinese news media also maintains negative opinion. The news agency Xinhua quoted Xi as saying: “Severe difficulties have emerged in Sino-Japanese relations in recent years, and the rights and wrongs behind them are crystal clear.”

Nonetheless, Abe holds an optimistic opinion.

“Japan and China, we need each other,” Abe told a news conference at the close of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting. “We are in a way inseparably bound together.”

The tension between Japan and China has been existed in recent years. It started with the crisis over the islands. In September 2012, the Japanese government purchase Diaoyu island in China from a private owner.

The Chinese, who claim the islands were wrongfully taken from them by Japan at the end of the 19th century, sent squadrons of paramilitary vessels into the waters around the islands, and Japanese Coast Guard boats fended them off in what became a cat-and-mouse-game.

From World War II to nowadays, Japan and China had conflicts on many issues. Those contradictions are unable to be melted by a 25 minute meeting. In the future, it is possible that two countries can get long with one another.