The Yomiuri Shimbun
First ease tension to start improving bilateral ties between Japan and China
日中首脳会談 関係改善には緊張緩和が要る

For all the differences in what both sides assert, it is essential for Japan and China to make efforts to build trust through constructive dialogue.
双方の主張に相違点はあっても、建設的な対話を通じて、信頼醸成を図ることが肝要である。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hangzhou, China, on Monday and both agreed to work to improve ties between the two countries. It was their third bilateral talk and the first since April 2015.
安倍首相は中国・杭州で、習近平国家主席と会談し、関係改善に努力することで一致した。両氏の会談は2015年4月以来で、3回目だ。

Abe and Xi also agreed that the two countries will accelerate discussions on soon putting into operation a “maritime and air liaison mechanism” aimed at preventing accidental clashes between the Self-Defense Forces and Chinese forces in the East China Sea.
東シナ海での自衛隊と中国軍の偶発的な衝突を防ぐ「海空連絡メカニズム」の早期運用へ協議を加速させることでも合意した。

Included among the mechanism’s main pillars are establishing a hotline between the Japanese and Chinese defense authorities, and enabling naval vessels and aircraft of both countries to communicate directly on site if they get close to each other.
防衛当局間のホットラインの設置や、艦艇・航空機が接近した際の直接通信などが柱である。

There was a series of incidents around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture in June, in which Chinese military vessels sailed in the contiguous zone around the islands and its military aircraft flew close by.
尖閣諸島周辺では6月、中国軍艦の接続水域進入や中国軍機の接近が相次いだ。

To avoid any untoward incident, the defense authorities of both countries should put the finishing touches on the talks so as to hurry the launch of the mechanism’s operations.
不測の事態を避けるため、当局間の詰めの協議を行い、運用開始を急ぎたい。

Regarding such incidents as Chinese government vessels entering Japan’s territorial waters, Abe said they would be construed as “actions that will unilaterally escalate tension,” rightly calling on China to improve the situation.
中国公船による領海侵入などを巡り、首相が「一方的に緊張をエスカレートさせる行動だ」と改善を求めたのは当然である。

Take concrete action

Xi responded by saying that the two countries should “properly handle the issue via dialogue and consultation.” But it would only be reasonable for China to first restrain itself in terms of deeds. To fully mend the bilateral relations between Japan and China, it is vital to ease tension.
習氏は「対話と協議を通じて適切に対応すべきだ」と語ったが、中国がまず行動を自制するのが筋だ。日中関係を本格的に修復するには、緊張緩和が欠かせない。

During the talks, Abe and Xi also agreed that the two countries will hold discussions on resuming negotiations on the joint development of gas fields in the East China Sea.
会談では、東シナ海のガス田共同開発の交渉再開に向けて、両国が協議することも決まった。

China has been developing the fields unilaterally, reneging on a 2008 bilateral accord. The accord must be carried out sincerely.
中国は08年の合意を反故ほごにし、勝手に開発を続けている。合意は誠実に履行せねばなるまい。

Referring to China’s moves to militarize artificial islands in the South China Sea, Abe urged China to abide by the international law and make efforts to dispel concern among neighboring countries.
首相は、中国が軍事拠点化を進める南シナ海問題について、国際法のルールを守り、周辺国などの不安解消に努めるよう促した。

It is unacceptable that Xi hit back against Abe’s call by saying, “Japan should exercise prudence in its words and deeds.” Ensuring the safety of sea lanes is a common benefit to the international community.
容認できないのは、習氏が「日本は言葉と行動を慎むべきだ」などと抗弁したことである。海上交通路(シーレーン)の安全確保は国際社会共通の利益だ。

During the talks, Abe brought up the issue of North Korea firing three ballistic missiles into waters off the coast of Hokkaido. He called on Xi to cooperate in “taking concrete steps against North Korea’s repeated provocations.”
首相は会談で、北朝鮮が弾道ミサイル3発を北海道沖に落下させた問題を提起した。「度重なる挑発行動に対し、具体的措置を講じるべきだ」と、習氏に求めた。

China, which is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has a certain amount of influence on North Korea. China fulfilling its responsibilities could constitute a step forward in the bilateral cooperation between Japan and China.
中国は国連安全保障理事会の常任理事国で、北朝鮮に一定の影響力を持つ。その責任を果たすことが日中連携の一歩となり得る。

China has suffered a series of diplomatic setbacks in its foreign policy lately: a ruling by the court of arbitration categorically dismissed Beijing’s claim of sovereignty in the South China Sea; and its relations with South Korea have deteriorated.
中国外交は、南シナ海での自国の主権を全面否定する仲裁裁判所の判決が出たり、対韓関係の悪化を招いたり、失点が続く。

The success of the summit of the Group of 20 major economies, which Xi chaired, was a challenge vital for China to recover its own prestige.
習氏が議長を務める主要20か国・地域(G20)首脳会議の成功は、自らの威信を回復するために不可欠な課題だった。

Some believe that after the end of the G-20 summit talks, China will take a more hard-line stance in both the East China Sea and the South China Sea. Wouldn’t it be to China’s advantage to contribute to the stability of Asia, rather than intensify friction with its neighboring countries?
会議終了後には、中国が東・南シナ海で強硬姿勢を一段と打ち出すとの見方もある。近隣国との摩擦を強めるのでなく、アジアの安定に貢献することこそが自国の利益にもなるのではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 7, 2016)

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