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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 25, 1984

CABLE FROM AMBASSADOR KATORI TO THE FOREIGN MINISTER, 'PRIME MINISTER VISIT TO CHINA (CONVERSATION WITH GENERAL SECRETARY HU YAOBANG)'

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation

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    Hu Yaobang and Nakasone Yasuhiro exchange views on the Soviet Union, the Korean Peninsula, and Sino-Japanese relations.
    "Cable from Ambassador Katori to the Foreign Minister, 'Prime Minister Visit to China (Conversation with General Secretary Hu Yaobang)'," March 25, 1984, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, 2002-113, Act on Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs. Also available at the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Obtained for CWIHP by Yutaka Kanda and translated by Ryo C. Kato. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118846
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Number R037705

Primary: Asia and China

Sent: China 1:15 Year Month 25

Received: MOFA 2:50 1984 March 25

To: The Foreign Minister From: Ambassador Katori

Prime Minster Visit to China (Conversation with General Secretary Hu Yaobang)

Number 1338 Top Secret Top Urgent Q36RA

Following a reception held by General Secretary Hu Yaobang, Prime Minister Nakasone held a tête–à–tête conversation with the General Secretary (redacted) as shown in the summary.

1. The following statement was made by General Secretary Hu

(1) Japan-China Relations

Following my return from Japan last autumn, the Central Committee [of the Chinese Communist Party] convened and agreed in recognizing the Japanese public’s hope to advance friendship and cooperation in China-Japan relations.

On behalf of my colleagues of the Central Committee, I would like to first reiterate that the Chinese public, too, sincerely hopes for the development of peaceful, friendly, and cooperative relations with Japan.

The Central Committee is committed to ingraining and popularizing the slogans of “Adherence to the 4 Principles of China-Japan Relations” and “For Lasting Friendship, First Pursue Friendship Until the 21st Century.”

(2) Foreign Policy

China’s foreign policy has already been decided. The foreign policy of independence was decided upon after several years of consideration. It is in essence non-alignment. There are two reasons behind non-alignment: first, entering into an alliance relationship would hinder China from widely conducting friendly exchanges, and at the very least it would affect China’s ability to do so; second, it would be impossible to suppress the allied nation’s likely aberrant behaviors.

This is not to say that China would never enter into an alliance relationship. If China and the Chinese people find its existence in threat, it is possible that China will enter into an alliance relation with a foreign country.

(3) China-USSR Relations

Regarding China-USSR relations, we hope for improvements, but in view of current conditions, there are no possibilities for large improvements. This is because the other party lacks sincerity. With that said, China is neither in a hurry nor is it afraid.

Even if China-USSR relations improve, China will not abandon friendly and cooperative relations with Japan. If there is a great change to China-USSR relations, we will immediately notify our friends (note: this refers to Japan).

(4) The State of the Korean Peninsula

China wants to continue encouraging from the sidelines the easing of tensions and the realization of a unified Korean Confederation.

According to some sources and my own opinion, Japan has several dissatisfactions with North Korea, and North Korea holds Japan with extreme contempt. We hope to fulfill our obligation of having Japan and North Korea exchange views.  This is my own opinion (Hu), but it would be a plus if Japan expanded higher-level exchanges, even if it is not a relationship between the governments of Japan and North Korea. As I am planning on visiting Pyongyang in May, if Prime Minster Nakasone has any opinions regarding this matter, I would like to transmit it to the other party.

Because the only possibility is to ease North-South tensions and to aim for national unification through confederacy, China will never stray from its standpoint of promoting from the sidelines.

(5) The Internal State of China

The state of politics in China is very stable and advancing, I (Hu) guarantee that over the long-term, and at the very least through the 1980s, China will continue to be stable.

The rate of economic growth is better than initially anticipated. First, agriculture has expanded broadly every year. Second, regarding oil, although I hope you will not publicize this, I believe that by the end of the 1980s China will produce over 150 million tons. Third, China intends to further promote the policy of opening up to the world, and this is the first announcement on the matter, but we are considering whether or not to issue a special currency in the special economic zones.

(6) Expression of Gratitude regarding Economic Cooperation

We are very grateful of Japan’s economic and technological assistance towards China’s 4 Modernizations. Although there is little media coverage of Japan’s cooperation in Chinese newspapers, we are sincerely grateful of the Japanese public’s friendly attitude towards our country. China will not forget your warm friendship.

There is a saying that attests to the fact that China will not forget friendship, a saying from Shijing from 3000 years in the past, “tou tao bao li” (receive a peach, and return a plum). At this time, the only thing that we can give in return is our declaration that we will develop friendly relations between China and Japan, however, when our economy develops I believe that we will be able to reciprocate your friendship.

(7) Last year when I came in touch with Prime Minster Nakasone, I deepened my estimation that the Prime Minister values friendship and that he is a person who will play a large role for our countries, as well as the Asian region, and so on this occasion I told my colleagues in the Central Committee that I wish to continue deepening our friendship with the Prime Minister.

2. In response to this, Prime Minister Nakasone answered with the following.

(1) Japan-China Relations

Developing friendly relations with China will work to stabilize the Asia-Pacific region, and so, as long as I am alive, I will personally endeavor to develop relations. The General Secretary and I carry great national responsibilities, and, with his Excellency, I want to develop the aforementioned relations. As long as both of our countries’ governments continue such policies, there should not be any contradictions or confrontations between our countries. The development of aforementioned relations while our countries mutually complement each other is the basis for peace in the Asian region, and it will be a powerful pillar for world peace. Structurally speaking, peaceful and friendly relations between Japan and China have international relations and international economic relations already built-in.

The entirety of the Chinese people and the Japanese people has noticed how the Secretary General’s family has treated my own family. Our citizens have surely taken this to symbolize how our peoples will continue with friendly relations into the 21st century.  

(2) Expression of Thanks from the Chinese Side

Earlier, the General Secretary expressed his gratitude regarding Japan’s economic cooperation towards China. This expression is actually very humbling, as our cooperation towards China is an expression of our regret over causing great hardships during the War. Given this, cooperation towards China is a matter of course.

(3) 21st Century Committee

The entire front page of today’s Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily] featured articles regarding relations with Japan. Regarding the lineup of the 21st Century Committee that was announced, we are very pleased that young leaders such as Wang Zhaoguo and Professor Kayama are playing central roles in the committee. Once this Committee begins operating, we wonder if the Committee could recommend to the government that a China-Japan Youth Cultural Exchange Center be established to house our youth who are visiting China and also to promote technological and cultural exchange between the youths of our countries. (Here, Secretary General Hu answered that he is “greatly in favor.”)  It would be favorable to establish a China-Japan Youth Cultural Exchange Center after or simultaneous to cooperation on a post & telecommunications center and meat-processing center.

(4) New Loans, etc.

For 7 years from fiscal 1984, 47 billion yen in new loans will be provided for, primarily, transportation, harbors, and power plants. The state of our national finances is extremely difficult compared to when former Prime Minister Ohira visited China and said that 30 billion yen in loans will be provided over 5 years; however we have made 5 years into 7 and 30 billion yen into 47 billion yen. This is the result of my own instructions to increase the amount.

Regarding development loans from the Export-Import Bank, we would like to endeavor to make sure that it is not less, but more than the previous $2 billion. Regarding the development of the Dzungar coal mine that the General Secretary has expressed great interest in, we would like to cooperate as much as possible after taking into consideration the feasibility study being conducted by the American firm, Bechtel.

The mutual development of relations, while overcoming the fact that Japan is a capitalist country and China is a communist country, is a rarity in world history. We would like to develop relations by all means.

(5) China’s foreign policy, relations with the Soviet Union

We are able to understand China’s policy towards the Non-Aligned Movement. We have taken interest in your statement that China may choose to enter an alliance relationship if she faces an existential threat; we believe it is worthy of consideration. However, we believe that such a threat would be unlikely.

We express our gratitude for your statement that you will notify us immediately if there are any changes in Sino-Soviet relations.

During my meeting with Premier Zhou [Enlai], we promised to mutually exchange information regarding the Soviet Union. I hope for similar exchange of information with you.

Japan and China are in similar positions: while China has the Three Principles regarding barriers to the improvement of Sino-Soviet relations, Japan has the Northern Territories issue. Because of the above-mentioned issue, Japan is cautious and nervous regarding the Soviet Union. (Here, Secretary General Hu leaned forward and nodded many times)  

(6) The state of the Korean Peninsula

Regarding the state of the Korean Peninsula: although the North’s proposal for a peaceful unification through a federation is ideal, mistrust between North and South is persistent. Especially after the Rangoon Incident, the South’s mistrust of the North has greatly worsened.

In this regard it is important for the North and South to come together and deepen mutual understanding. North-South relations are like trying to fix difficult relations between a man and woman; it is important for others around them to create a conducive environment. We recognize China’s position, but regarding the creation of such a favorable environment it is necessary for North Korea to come together with the US and for South Korea to come together with China. Because of our nation’s special relationship to South Korea, it will be difficult for us to come together with North Korea unless such an environment can be created. In this sense, China holds the key for the state of the Korean Peninsula.

We find sports exchange through such things as South Korean tennis players visiting China to be favorable.  

(7) Private Japan-China Economic Cooperation

Economic cooperation between governments is certainly important, but economic cooperation in the private sector has the potential to become even more important and varied. Of course, the establishment of large-scale industries is important, but I believe the effect of small-medium sized enterprises and small-medium sized backbone enterprises will be larger. Our country’s economic development largely depends on the technological innovation of these small-medium sized backbone enterprises.

For private sector cooperation with China to begin, the early establishment of the measures currently in progress, such as legal reforms and the protection of investments, is necessary. Once such an environment is in place, the Japanese government can assist and encourage private sector cooperation.

We have taken interest in your thoughts on issuing currency specifically for the special economic zones.

We are prepared for our experts to consider the various topics discussed. We request that Ambassador Katori [Yatsue] be notified. (End)

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