Cheng Yonghua, Chinese Ambassador to Japan, believes that his work as ambassador is “complicated, sensitive and difficult” right now because of the growing tension between the two countries. However, he said that he is optimistic that Japan and China will “maintain friendly relations in the future.” He pointed that being two of the largest economies in the world, fighting each other could only cause damage to either party, but if peace is kept, they will both reap the benefits.
He believes that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not been able to handle the dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands as well as he could have. Cheng said that it “is the biggest challenge in improving China-Japan relations.” He said that the Japanese government ignored the history, as well as the common understanding of both country’s leaders 40 years past, as regards the islands. He also believes that the Abe administration is deaf to the call of the Japanese people to improve bilateral ties. He noted that Japan must show that it is sincere in working with China to find a solution to the problem at hand. “As the saying goes, whoever started the trouble should end it,” he said.
Cheng, who is in Beijing for the yearly session of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top political advisory body, said that right now both countries have to improve crisis control and ensure that accidents will not get out of hand. He said that since the tensions first occurred in September, there have been a 30% drop in the number of tourists in Japan coming from China, and package tours have reduced by over 70%.[via People's Daily]