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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 09, 1986

CABLE NO. 3757, AMBASSADOR NAKAE TO THE FOREIGN MINISTER, 'THE PRIME MINISTER’S VISIT TO CHINA (MEETING WITH GENERAL SECRETARY HU - JAPAN-CHINA RELATIONS)'

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    Hu and Nakasone discuss some of their countries respective foreign policy priorities, including the USSR, the United States, the Cambodian-Vietnamese conflict, Eastern Europe, and Afghanistan, as well as arms control.
    "Cable No. 3757, Ambassador Nakae to the Foreign Minister, 'The Prime Minister’s Visit to China (Meeting with General Secretary Hu - Japan-China Relations)'," November 09, 1986, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, 2017-0638, Act on Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs, published online by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, January 12, 2017. Translated by Stephen Mercado. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/209797
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Number [blacked out]

Primary: Asia and China

Sent: China, November 9, 1986 [blacked out]

Received: MOFA, November 9, 1986 [blacked out]

To: The Foreign Minister

From: Ambassador Nakae

The Prime Minister’s Visit to China (Meeting with General Secretary Hu –  Japan-China Relations)

No. 3757 Secret Top Urgent [blacked out]

Following is a summary of the part of Prime Minister Nakasone’s meeting with General Secretary Hu regarding international relations.

1. (1) General Secretary Hu, prefaced his remarks in saying that he would leave bilateral relations (economic, other aspects) for the meeting with Premier Zhao and that he wished to inform the Prime Minister this evening of several points regarding international relations. Following is what he said.

(2) I assure you that China’s diplomatic policy does not change. China has long held to a diplomatic policy of independence and peace. At no time has China joined in an arms race, nor has it formed alliances with any great power or group of nations. China works to maintain relations of peace and cooperation with all countries in the world.   

(3) We are satisfied with relations between China and the United States, which on the whole are developing smoothly. The United States is saying that it wishes to maintain the framework of friendship already established between the United States and China. We, too, are earnestly adhering to this.

I will inform you of a detail. The United States has invited me three or four times to visit there. This is a rather difficult issue for me. That is to say, if I were to visit the United States, it would be good if we were able to come to a new understanding on which both sides agreed, but the United States  has problems with this. Another thing is that, if I were to visit the United States, I would have to go also to the five socialist countries of Eastern Europe. If that were to happen, preparations for the Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress next year would become difficult. I am pouring most of my energy into the 13th CPC National Congress. That being the case, I have decided that I will visit neither the United States or Eastern Europe. I will consider it again the year after next. I have not told our American friends yet but have told you this first, Prime Minister, because it is easy to talk with you.  

(4) Relations between China and the Soviet Union are making virtually no progress. The Soviet Union shows no sincerity in regard to the three obstacles, particularly regarding Afghanistan and Kampuchea. The Soviet Union is backing Vietnam in regard to Kampuchea. Vietnam is trying to place Heng Samrin at the center, with Sihanouk and Son Sann in supporting roles, and to exclude Pol Pot.  Our policy is to put Sihanouk at the center, achieve a union of three or four factions, and work for national reconciliation. We insist on one side not encroaching upon the other and on making Cambodia an independent, peaceful, neutral, and non-aligned country. The great majority of countries, including many socialist countries, approve these points. Your country, too, supports them.

We understand that General Secretary Gorbachev is attempting various things in such areas as the domestic economy and international detente, but he is making no effort to let go of previous gains. Under such conditions, we lack words in common with the Soviet Union.  

There seems to be news that Gorbachev has decided to put off his visit to Japan. There seems to be some possibility of adopting a flexible stance on the Northern Territories issue. In that case, the Soviet Union will probably give Japan conditions for their return. President Li Xiannian, when he was speaking some time ago with Chairman Honecker, said that the Soviet Union should return the Northern Territories to Japan. I tell you that Li asked why the Soviet Union does not let go of them.

There has been relatively great improvement between China and Eastern Europe. The key to improvement was that the year before last the Chinese side conveyed via a certain route the “three fully respects.” This has become public knowledge, but what has not been announced is that we conveyed to them that we recognize in regard to the socialist countries of Eastern Europe the relationship between these countries and the Soviet Union that has been maintained for several decades. (Note: Afterwards, Asian Affairs Department Deputy Director Tang Jiaxuan confided that there was a problem with the expression “recognize” and that saying “respect” was correct.)

2. In response to the above, the Prime Minister said the following:

(1) In contrast to China’s non-alignment, our country strives for national security through the Japan-US security system. We will adhere to it in the future as well.

(At this point General Secretary Hu said that China understood and had no objection.) We strictly warn against militarism, excessive expansion in armaments, and such. We will adhere to the policy that we have raised with Your Excellency.

(2) However, when we look at the military situation in Northeast Asia, we see that some countries are increasing their armaments. One cannot oppose this with old weapons and tactics, so within the bounds of self-defense one has to update one’s armaments. Moreover, I think, joining hands with neighboring ASEAN countries is important for peace in Asia.

(3) It is unclear when Gorbachev will come to Japan. On October 17, a resolution for the return of the Northern Territories passed the Upper and Lower Houses of the Diet. We will not adopt an unprincipled separation of politics and economics with a Soviet Union that is holding on to the Northern Territories. I think that there are similar aspects between the three obstacles and the Northern Territories. I would like to have regular exchanges of information on such important issue as Gorbachev’s coming to Japan. Our country’s position is a consistent one. We are under no illusion.

(4) The US-Soviet Summit came to no agreement, but we are hoping for one. We have expressed our understanding for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). We have started talks with the United States on joining in research on building a defensive weapons system that will abolish nuclear weapons, particularly intercontinental ballistic missiles. SDI has re-started the long-stalled US-Soviet arms reduction talks and was the trigger for the summit meeting in Reykjavik. Whether any weapons system will come of SDI, which is still at the research phase, is unclear. It may take twenty or thirty years. In any event, US research and Japanese and European participation in that research have influenced the US-Soviet arms reduction talks. The Soviet Union, too, has become serious about them. Our country has a particular interest in the issues of the international nuclear forces (INF) and SS-20 missiles. It will not do for Asia to be sacrificed for Europe. The potential agreement in Reykjavik on INF -- zero in Europe, 100 in Asia – is a step forward, but I would like to work in due course for zero in Asia as well. I wish to talk about this in the future with the United States as well.

(5) The positions of Japan and China on Afghanistan and Kampuchea are nearly in agreement. Japan supports ASEAN’s position on Kampuchea and supports a union of the three factions. On Afghanistan, it is unclear whether or not the withdrawal of the six regiments is anything more than a simple rotation. In either case, there is no change to the major military presence there of over 100,000 troops.

Relayed to [Embassies in] United States, Soviet Union, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, and  Thailand (End)

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