Over the past week, there were two major diplomatic events in China. German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a visit to China and Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Japan's parliamentary senior deputy minister of foreign affairs, arrived in Beijing to hand a letter, written by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and intended for President Hu Jintao. This year marks the 40th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan and the 40th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Germany. Why is there a sharp contrast between Sino-Japan and China-Germany relations?
Last week’s visit is Merkel’s sixth trip to China since she became German Chancellor. Frequent exchange of visits between Chinese and German senior officials indicates the rapid warming bilateral relations in which economy plays a major role. China will order 50 Airbus planes worth 3.5 billion U.S. dollars, only a part of more than 10 trade agreements two countries inked during Merkel’s visit.
Why are China-Germany relations healthier and more stable than Sino-Japan relations? Sino-Germany relations have always been the most stable among bilateral relations between China and Western countries. The Chinese people hold favorable views of Germany, especially Germans’ professionalism and world’s leading industrial manufacturing technologies. However, Sino-Japan relations have been repeatedly damaged by historical issues and territorial disputes. As the vanquished country in the Second World War like Germany, Japan should learn from it to deal with historical issues in a responsible and respectable manner.
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