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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 06, 1954


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    Zhou Enlai and Japanese Diet Members discuss Japan's relationship with the United States, the overall trends in Sino-Japanese relations, and some specific issues in Sino-Japanese relations, such as war criminals, fisheries, and communications.
    "Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, ‘Premier Zhou’s Talk with Members of Japan’s Diet’," November 06, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 105-00158-02, 2-5. Obtained by Amy King and translated by Stephen Mercado.
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Distribute To: Various foreign radio and television stations 


Outgoing No. 303

Note: Copies to Zhou’s Office, Foreign Ministry (Chen)

Contents: Premier’s Conversation with Delegation of Japanese Diet Members   

Various Embassies, Consulates, Representative Offices:

Now the talking points of Premier Zhou’s talks with the Visiting Delegation of Japanese Diet Members and the Visiting Japanese Academic and Cultural Delegation have been issued and may be passed to first secretaries. Destroy after reading.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

6 November 1954

Premier Zhou on 11 October received a visiting delegation of Japanese Diet members and a visiting Japanese Academic and Cultural delegation. The talking points were as follows: 

(I) Concerning the present situation in Japan: The Chinese people greatly sympathize with the Japanese people’s difficult position of presently being under occupation. Japan has always been an independent nation. The period of oppression has been only nine years. Japan will not willingly accept oppression for a long period. In depending on the United States, Japan is unable to obtain independence. China and the United States are both victors of the Second World War, and yet the United States still wants to bully China. The Chinese people in the end did not liberate themselves from the struggle against Japanese militarism but from that against US aggression. Moreover, is not the relationship between Japan and the United States that of defeated country and victorious country? The United States wants to arm Japan and greatly hopes to use it as cannon fodder and to invade others. This road is not a way out. If Japan wants independence, it can only rely on the Japanese people to stand up. This road is difficult, and it may take a comparatively long time, but the Chinese people by their own experience are convinced that the Japanese people will stand up.

When Japan becomes an independent, democratic, and peaceful country, it should have armed forces for self-defense, but this is different from armed forces serving under US armed forces as cannon fodder for the United States and attacking others. Self-defense forces are for defending oneself. No one can interfere with this.

(II) Concerning Sino-Japanese relations: For 2,000 years, China and Japan were in peaceful co-existence. For the past 60 years, Sino-Japanese relations were bad, but this period has passed. We can act so that past history does not repeat itself, because there exists a latent friendship between the Chinese and Japanese people. A vivid example is when the armed forces laid down their arms on 15 August [1945]. The Japanese have become friendly with the Chinese. The Chinese regard the Japanese as friends and hold no grudge against them. Many former Japanese soldiers participated in the work of the Chinese people’s liberation. Both sides have established a true and reliable friendship. It is entirely possible for us to improve Sino-Japanese relations on the basis of such friendship.

For its industrialization, China requires a peaceful international environment to engage in construction. China will not invade others. Our constitution stipulates a diplomatic policy of peace. China’s powerful armed forces are for self-defense, and they can only be for self-defense. China’s shipbuilding capability is poor. In 10 years, we will still not have caught up with Japan. As for invading Japan, it goes without saying that we are subjectively unwilling, and objectively unable, to do so. “Industrial Japan and agricultural China” is the road to war. The reason is that an agricultural and poor China would arouse aggression in others. There has been such experience in history. Only with the industrialization of Japan and the industrialization of China will we have peaceful co-existence and co-existence and co-prosperity. As China’s economy develops, the market will grow and foreign trade will begin. Today there exist obstacles to trade between China and Japan. The volume of trade is very small. However, so long as it develops in a friendly manner, prospects will certainly open up.

For the past 80 years, China has learned Western culture and started to learn from Japan. Japanese culture has benefitted China, and we should express our gratitude. There are great prospects for cultural exchange between China and Japan. The key is peaceful co-existence. No one need think otherwise. The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence are not limited only to China’s relations with India or Burma but are suitable for Sino-Japanese relations as well. If Japan becomes an independent and autonomous country, we are willing to conclude a mutual non-aggression treaty with Japan. China is not the present obstacle to Sino-Japanese relations. We recognize any government of the Japanese people’s choice, but Japan does not recognize the government that the Chinese people have chosen! The Chinese people do not want Chiang Kai-shek, but the Japanese government nevertheless recognizes Taiwan as representing China and takes an unfriendly attitude with us. The Chinese people also know that the fundamental reason does not lie entirely with the Japanese government but in that above the Japanese government there is the United States. This is unfortunate and is an obstacle to the resumption of Sino-Japanese relations.

(III) Several specific issues:

(1) The issue of war criminals: On the basis of our traditional policy of magnanimity, as well as the situation and degree of the crime, most of the war criminals will obtain magnanimous treatment and will be processed swiftly. They now can communicate with their families.

(2) The issue of Japanese residing in China: Some Japanese residing in China really do not want to return to Japan. We are continuing to urge them that they must return.

(3) The issue of the resumption of communications between China and Japan: We welcome the resumption of communications. The issue is: how do we resume them? To whom should the Chinese side raise this issue?

(4) The issue of fisheries: It should be resolved, and not resolving it for a long period of time would be bad, in spite of the unfriendly attitude that the Japanese government has taken towards China. We hope that Japan has suitable [two question marks in middle of sentence, likely indicating illegible or missing words] sends representatives to China to negotiate.

(5) Trade, culture, and other issues may be introduced and discussed with the relevant authorities.