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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 25, 1978

RECORD OF MEETING BETWEEN PRIME MINISTER FUKUDA AND VICE PREMIER DENG (SECOND MEETING)

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    Deng and Fukuda discuss Korea, Taiwan, economic cooperation, and the status of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.
    "Record of Meeting between Prime Minister Fukuda and Vice Premier Deng (Second Meeting)," October 25, 1978, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, 01-935-2, 016-027. Contributed by Robert Hoppens and translated by Stephen Mercado. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120019
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Record of Meeting between Prime Minister Fukuda and Vice Premier Deng

(Second Meeting)

October 25, 1978

China Division

On October 25, from 10 o'clock until 11:25 in the morning, for one hour and 25 minutes, in the Prime Minister's Official Residence there took place the second meeting between Prime Minister Fukuda and Vice Premier Deng. Following is a record of the meeting. (Participants the same as in first meeting)

Record

(Prior to cameramen, others departing the room)

Vice Premier Deng: This meeting with Prime Minister Fukuda is being watched not only by the people of our two countries but internationally as well.  

Prime Minister Fukuda: It is a meeting between Japan and China within the world.

Vice Premier Deng: Of course, many people are happy about it. However, in any case there will be those unhappy about it. Even if you worry about such persons, there is nothing to be done for it, so do not worry.

(Cameramen, others leave room)

Prime Minister Fukuda: Good morning, everyone. I imagine that you all must be tired from each day's difficult schedule, but I would like to begin the second meeting. Before we get into the meeting, in the name of the Government of Japan and of the Japanese people, I would like to invite Premier Hua Guofeng by all means to visit Japan.

Vice Premier Deng: I will certainly deliver Prime Minister Fukuda's invitation to Premier Hua Guofeng.

I think that the Chinese Government and Premier Hua Guofeng will happily accept the invitation.

Prime Minister Fukuda: Thank you (in Chinese). Where shall we start? Do you have some idea?

Vice Premier Deng: (Before the interpreter finishes interpreting, interrupting) I will correct what I just said. On behalf of Premier Hua Guofeng, I happily accept the invitation that Prime Minister Fukuda has just now extended. I think that is clearer, and it ends without becoming a pending issue (all those present laugh).

Prime Minister Fukuda: Thank you (in Chinese).

Vice Premier Deng: The day before yesterday, there was the desire to discuss the Korea issue in today's meeting, and I would like to talk first. I think that we both know each other's point of view regarding this issue. Recently, before Ambassador Sato came back to Japan, we had a discussion regarding this issue. The Chinese Government, as Prime Minister Fukuda and everyone here knows, has always supported the Korean people's independent and peaceful reunification. We support the policy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. This is because they have chosen a policy of independence.

I think that we have a deeper understanding than your country regarding the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The reason I am saying such a thing is that there is the argument that the Korean situation is tense internationally, and there are people concerned that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea may take some action. To Prime Minister Fukuda and everyone else here, I say that we do not have such concern. We see no sign that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is going to go on some course of action. This is not some diplomatic statement, but the real situation.  

I believe that a situation, existing internationally, in which a single country is divided in two, will inevitably be altered. For China, too, there is the issue of two Chinas, which we will inevitably resolve. We are now in negotiations with the United States on this issue. Two Chinas cannot be recognized, of course, nor can one and a half or one and a quarter. A gradual resolution, when the time is ripe, will be fine. Without a doubt, there will ultimately be a resolution to this problem. It is right that Vietnam became a unified country, regardless of what has been happening. The two Germanys are a major issue. West Germany is strongly demanding the unification of the German people. East Germany, too, has that demand. At present, there are still no visible signs that the conditions for a resolution are in place, but I believe that the day for a resolution will come. I believe that, even if impossible in one hundred years, we will have one in a thousand years. In the case of your country, there may be no issue of two Japans, but there may be one of one Japan and one-tenth of a Japan. This issue, too, judging from the feelings of the Japanese people, will surely be resolved. We have always supported such feelings of the Japanese people.

The issue of Korea, too, is the same one as these. A single people have been divided in two. Accordingly, the reunification of Korea is the unanimous desire of the Korean people in the north and the south. The issue is one of the time and means of resolution, and there the issue is also one of what is the obstacle to reunification. When I visited the Democratic People's Republic of Korea recently, I talked with President Kim Il Sung concerning the reunification of the Korean Peninsula. President Kim Il Sung's opinion and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's position was one of independently working for reunification. The obstacle to reunification is the stationing of US troops in the south. At the time of the Korean War, the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) joined in it. It was the People's Volunteer Army in name, but in fact it was China that joined in the war (all those present laugh). China fought in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, and the United States fought in the southern part. The result was that the 38th parallel was maintained. Even now, China always participates in the talks held at Panmunjom. However, China's presence is limited to Panmunjom. After the Korean War ended, Chinese troops immediately withdrew. Consequently, China's presence is not now a problem for the reunification of North and South Korea, China. Only the presence of the United States is a problem. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, too, is calling for direct talks with the United States. The United States uses the name of United Nations forces but, in fact, what it is stationing are US troops. Accordingly, there are no grounds for faulting the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's request. The United States initially suggested that it would be better if China participated in this meeting. We replied to the United States that we were not qualified to do so because China had no troops in the Korean Peninsula. The United States should, first of all, take its troops out of South Korea. I think that, if that condition is met, then dialogue between the Korean people in the north and the south will take place. However, the United States continues to reject withdrawal. Accordingly, it is necessary to watch future developments for how this problem will be resolved.  

We conveyed to the United States that President Kim Il Sung wishes to hold talks with the United States. The United States is talking about three-party talks, that is to say, the United States holding talks with North and South Korea. However, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea does not agree with that way of doing it. Of course, the main point is the United States or the United States and North and South Korea. The reason is that the headquarters of the United Nations forces is in South Korea.

China thinks that it would be better for the United States to withdraw its troops and achieve North-South dialogue. Some people worry that a US troop withdrawal would reduce the role that the United States plays for stability in Asia, but even if the US forces were to withdraw several hundred kilometers, such a problem would probably not occur. This, for the United States, would even be a chance to pull back. If the North and South engaged in direct dialogue, then the problem of US participation would end. This is China's attitude towards the Korea issue. We do not know South Korea. We are not in contact with them. However, we have said the same thing to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and to the United States.

When I talked with Ambassador Sato about this problem, Ambassador Sato raised the issue of why relations between the Soviet Union and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea were not going well. The reason for that is very clear. The Soviet Union everywhere wishes to dominate. If the other party does not accept Soviet demands, then the Soviet Union wrings its neck. China has learned from experience in that regard. At one time, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea could not understand the relationship between China and the Soviet Union. However, in associating with the Soviet Union it was not long before they came to have the same experience as China. Vietnam, too, is probably going to have a similar experience. The Soviet Union built an oil refinery in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. There is no oil in Korea, so they were to receive oil supplies from the Soviet Union. Despite this plant's being made to refine only oil from the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union has supplied no oil even after the plant's completion. It is a complete waste. This is only one example, but the Soviet Union does many things like this.  

What dissatisfies the Democratic People's Republic of Korea the most regarding the Soviet Union is that it has relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on the one hand while having frequent contacts with South Korea on the other. The feelings of the people of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are hurt by this. The Soviet Union's actions themselves have become an obstacle to North-South dialogue and makes North-South dialogue difficult.

Concerning the Korea issue, China supports the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and is doing nothing to cause any kind of action, nor is the Soviet Union probably scheming to bring about anything. I think that the time is not yet ripe for resolving the Korea issue. However, there will be no sign of a resolution so long as North and South Korea do not themselves take action. China, too, knows of your country's close relationship with South Korea. The Chinese Government and I hope that the Government of Japan and Japan's economic circles will develop closer relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. I think that your country takes care when in contact with South Korea not to hurt the pride of the Korean people. The Government of Japan probably acts in taking various things into consideration, so China does not intend to say anything about it. It is just that, having now been asked by the Japanese side, the Chinese side has made clear its opinion. What I have said may not necessarily be correct. I speak frankly about everything. I am no more than a common soldier, so I speak of things in the words of ordinary soldiers.

Prime Minister Fukuda: Hearing your talk just now, I understood China's position regarding the Korean Peninsula. For both our two sides, there is a common view concerning this issue. Between South and North Korea, there is no tension to bring about a war. The point is that there is no danger of a fire erupting.

The basic point is that the division of a single people in two is a tragedy. South and North Korea should be unified someday. On this point, I am in agreement with Your Excellency the Vice Premier. The attitude that our country has always taken is the point that South and North Korea should be peacefully unified, that is to say, that they should be united through talking with one another.

Just now you spoke of the presence of the US military having become an obstacle to South and North Korea unifying through talking with one another. Concerning this point, in 1972 the South's representative, Yi Hu-rak, held talks with the North's representative. I very much had hopes for these talks, but they broke off afterwards. We think that such effort is necessary.

Today, when the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China has come into being, with our two countries standing on the basis of friendship between Japan and China, is there not the possibility of making efforts with an eye on the opportunity to realize talks, those in which China promotes talks with North Korea and our country promotes talks with the Republic of Korea? I wonder: should not Japan and China make such utmost efforts in promoting the peaceful unification of North and South Korea? I think that it may take time, but it would be better not to forsake such a path.  

Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping: China is well aware of the position of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. That position is mainly one of peace and autonomy. I said to Ambassador Sato as well that settling the Korea issue is difficult. We do not want to zhihui (Chinese word: to intervene) too much from the Chinese side. That is to say, sometimes going too far produces a contrary result. What I have always supported is peaceful and independent reunification. We know that President Kim Il Sung has various ideas. For example, one is that, following the withdrawal of US troops, the North and the South would hold talks and work for reunification in the form of a Korean confederation. I think that your country also knows that. In other words, he is thinking of a realistic way to achieve peaceful reunification. In such a way, it would be fine for both North and South to maintain their systems as they have been until now, with no need to reform their social systems. If the North and the South associated with one another in such a form over a long period of time, they could probably work towards mutual reconciliation and resolve the problem.

I would like to take this opportunity to present our thinking in regard to the Taiwan issue. We have spoken concerning this issue to statesmen of the United States and other countries as well. We think that Taiwan's reality is Taiwan's return to the motherland. We have told the United States to adopt the Japanese formula. Not without reason, there are various ways of understanding what is meant by the Japanese formula. Whatever the formula may be, respecting the reality of Taiwan and adopting the Japanese formula are the greatest concessions of which China is capable. The United States wants to obligate China in one way or another not to liberate Taiwan by military force. However, when and how we resolve the Taiwan issue is China's internal affair. The United States cannot interfere. What we are saying is that we will resolve it while fully respecting the reality of Taiwan. The Japanese formula, too, is based on the approach of respecting this reality of Taiwan.  

One statesman in a US delegation asked what China would do if the Soviet Union moved into Taiwan after the United States accepted the three conditions on which China was consisting, that is, abrogating the treaty, withdrawing the troops, and severing diplomatic relations. I replied to his question in saying that we had no such worry. That is to say, in resolving the Taiwan issue, our approach is to respect the reality of Taiwan and to adopt the Japanese formula. At present, Japanese economic elements remain in Taiwan. The United States has even greater economic power than Japan does in Taiwan. I think that their economic power will remain in the future as well and, furthermore, that non-governmental economic exchanges will also continue. If so, then I think that Soviet entry will be difficult. I responded in asking that statesman, if the Soviet Union sought to dominate Taiwan, whether the United States even then intended to oppose China's liberation of Taiwan by military force.  That statesman and the people around him then all laughed. Obligating China not to liberate Taiwan by military force would in the end pose an obstacle to the liberation of Taiwan. There is also concern that, on the contrary, the peaceful reunification of Taiwan would become impossible. If we assumed such an obligation, Chiang Kai-shek would probably be ecstatic about it.

Prime Minister Fukuda: I thank Your Excellency for speaking to me regarding the Korea and Taiwan issues. We have not spoken much regarding the important issues between Japan and China, so I would like to talk about them.

Your Excellency Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping's visit to Japan is a major event in the history between Japan and China. There were many businessmen going back and forth on a non-governmental level, but I think highly of how contacts at the government level have gotten under way with the conclusion of the treaty between Japan and China. Its significance is that of a suspension bridge becoming an iron bridge.   Accordingly, the issue henceforth is one of how to develop relations between Japan and China. Speaking from an economic aspect, your country is a resource power, possessing abundant resources, such as oil and iron ore. In contrast, we are a resource-poor country. We import close to 80 percent of our oil from the Arab countries. We incline too much in one direction, so we want to diversify the sources of our oil supplies. Our country, having developed its economy, hopes to cooperate with your country. On the other hand, your country is making efforts for its Four Modernizations, among which is the strengthening of your military power. Cooperation on this would be difficult, given our country's constitution and such. However, our country can cooperate with your country in other areas, so we would like you to tell us without reservation if there is anything we can do. I think that our country ought to cooperate in China's modernization. If China succeeds in its Four Modernizations, I think that it would be important not only for the peace and development of Asia but for the stability and development of the entire world. I sincerely wish that your country success in rapidly achieving its Four Modernizations.

In thinking of issues between Japan and China, I think that economic cooperation is important, but even more important is increasing mutual understanding and trust between our two countries. Without that, there will be no true friendship. There is a saying, which I think Mr. Liao Chengzhi knows, which is, "Relationships will end when the money ends." This will not do. We need to increase the mutual understanding and trust between Japan and China for the sake of the cooperative economic relationship between our two countries.

In that sense, what is important is securing increases in contacts between persons and in cultural exchanges. Between Japan and China is a history of cultural exchanges extending over a period of two thousand years. I think that, with a little effort, significant exchanges can take place rapidly in a way different than with other countries. In that sense, Premier Hua Guofeng's coming to Japan has an important meaning. I also think that my having received an invitation to visit China has great significance. Now that we have a treaty of peace and friendship between Japan and China, I truly want to bring to life the words "peace and friendship." That iron bridge absolutely must not rust. Therefore, we ought to make mental preparations for that.  

For the sake of comprehensively promoting exchanges, I think that there is a need for both countries to associate sincerely with one another without either side interfering in the internal affairs of the other.  Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs can be considered important in relations between our two countries never rusting, so I would like to ask the Chinese side again to take heed.

Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping: I thank you, Prime Minister Fukuda, for what you have just said. I think that the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship's profound significance will become something more than we imagine. One can understand that from its international appraisal these past few days. At the previous meeting, Prime Minister Fukuda, you said, "Japan's omnidirectional peace diplomacy is by no means an omnidirectional and equidistant diplomacy." I have taken note of these words. I think that the countries of the world have such a view. I think that between our two countries a cornerstone has been laid for a friendship that will be more advanced and greater than before. Henceforth, I want to further develop relations between our two countries in every area. Among those are included high-level leader contacts. My visit this time to Japan is certainly no trivial matter. I hope to welcome as soon as possible Prime Minister Fukuda and everyone here on their visit to China.

Our conditions are different, so it cannot be considered that our views would be completely in accord. However, through this meeting, we could have the firm believe that our views are close on the major issues. Even if there are differences in our views, that is understandable. Even if our views are the same, conditions are different, so it probably is not at all strange that our ways of saying and doing things are different. I am sure that henceforth our two countries will develop cooperation in every area.  We have made a good starting point. Even after we have achieved the Four Modernizations, we will probably still be poor. At that time, your country will probably have advanced further. Accordingly, even after achieving the Four Modernizations, we will probably need your country's cooperation. What I want to say here is that it is not that China will be of no use to your country. If China develops, then the areas of possible cooperation will also probably increase further.  I think that as China develops more and more, the importance of cooperation will emerge.  

Prime Minister Fukuda, Your Excellency recently referred to non-interference in each other's internal affairs. Non-interference in each other's internal affairs has always been our approach and attitude. China has always and adamantly adopted the position of non-interference in each other's internal affairs. I think that Your Excellency and all our friends know this. China, too, well understands that your country does not interfere in China's internal affairs.

I think it was greatly significant to have been able to have a frank exchange of opinions with Your Excellency Prime Minister Fukuda. I would like henceforth to deepen further exchanges with your country.  This is probably the desire of both the Chinese and Japanese sides. Finally, I would like to express my thanks once again for the warm reception that Your Excellency Prime Minister Fukuda, the Government of Japan, and the Japanese people have given our party. Your country's affectionate and warm reception has left a deep impression on us.

I think that there are still issues remaining that our two countries should discuss, but I would like to leave those for talks between our foreign ministers. (Appearing as though he had suddenly recalled it) There is one more thing I would like to say. There are various issues between our two countries. For example, there is the issue of what are called in China the Diaoyu Islands and in Japan the Senkaku Islands. This sort of thing is an issue that we need not bring out in a meeting like this one. I said it as well to Foreign Minister Sonoda in Beijing: Our generation may not have enough wisdom to resolve it, but the next generation will probably have more wisdom than us and be able to resolve this issue. It is necessary to see this issue from the whole situation.  

Prime Minister Fukuda: I am very pleased to have been able to frankly exchange opinions with Your Excellency Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping regarding global issues and those between Japan and China. I thank you. I believe that, in so doing, we can develop relations between our two countries. The important thing is that we hold fast to the spirit of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China. We must not forget that our two countries are firmly bound together by this treaty.

After this, the schedule is not hectic. I would like for you to see the various sites more leisurely. Let us keep at it for the sake of friendship between Japan and China.

Vice Premier Deng: Let us work together.

Prime Minister Fukuda: Lastly, I am grateful for the release of the two Japanese arrested in Shanghai.

Vice Premier Deng: (Nods after hearing what the interpreter whispers into his ear)

Prime Minister Fukuda: I would like to announce the content of this meeting to the press, but I would like to consult beforehand on that. The Japanese side designates Deputy Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takashima, so we would like to consult.

Vice Premier Deng: [several lines blacked out] to summarize the significance of this treaty, it means settling the past and looking to the future.

The Chinese side designates Asian Affairs Department Director Shen Ping.

Prime Minister Fukuda: Thank you for giving my wife and me a precious gift. It is a splendid Duanxi inkstone. I like to write calligraphy but am not good at it. I think that I will become good at it some day

(End)

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