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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 28, 1978


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    The meeting covered the work put into the Treaty over the years of its creation and diplomatic relations considerations.
    "Cable No. 1434, Ambassador Sato to the Foreign Minister, 'Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China Negotiations (5th Meeting, Part II)'," July 28, 1978, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, 2010-367, Act on Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs. Also available at the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Contributed by Yutaka Kanda and translated by Stephen Mercado.
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Number: (TA) R054156     5357

Primary: Asian Affairs Bureau Director-General

Sent: China, July 28, 1978,   02:35

Received: MOFA, July 28, 1978,   04:08

To: The Foreign Minister      

From: Ambassador Sato

Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China Negotiations (5th Meeting – Part 2)

No. 1434 Secret Top Urgent

(Limited Distribution)

Re: Outgoing Telegram No. 1433

1. At the start of the meeting, after he had finished listening to my statement, outgoing telegram 3. [sic], Vice Minister Han said that before going on break he would like to add a supplementary explanation regarding the statement I had given. He spoke as follows:

China and Japan in 1972 realized a formal normalization of relations. The prime ministers of the governments of our two countries signed the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement for the normalization of relations between our two countries. The Joint Statement contains very important content. That is, namely, the anti-hegemony clause, by which we made clear that neither of our two countries seeks hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region and, at the same time, each is opposed to attempts by any country or group of countries to establish hegemony in this region. It can be said that this Joint Statement is a principle that both our countries should observe in our relations and, as well, a fundamental basis and principle that solidifies and develops our relations. Of course, there are other contents as well in this Joint Statement. However, this clause is a very important one in the formation of the Joint Statement. The leaders of both our governments signed themselves this Joint Statement. For close to six years, our two sides both have basically referred to this. Both sides in this Joint Statement stipulated that we should conclude in total five agreements and a treaty. Of those, we have already seen the signing of four agreements. As we see it, every one of those four agreements is in agreement with the spirit of the Joint Statement. If we were to speak of unfinished tasks among those stipulated in the Joint Statement, that would only be the conclusion of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship.  

Of course, it is not the case that there were no disputes or differences of opinion between our two sides in the course of concluding the four agreements just mentioned. In negotiations for every one of the agreements, after all, we spent a considerable amount of time and carried out not a few exchanges of opinion. However,  those negotiations were not so long as those for the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship have been, nor was there the controversy that there has been with the treaty.

Three and a half years have already passed. In this period, on the Japanese side, there has been a change in ambassadors. As for myself, I have from the start spoken with Japanese friends about this issue. One could say that I put forth the first first draft of the treaty when I visited Japan in November 1974. It is something put forth rigorously and strictly in accord with the Joint Statement and based on a practical spirit. In 1974, when I visited Japan, I met Vice Foreign Minister Togo, Foreign Minister Kimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nikaido, Prime Minister Tanaka, and other friends. In this visit, I held talks mostly with Vice Minister Togo, but I also talked regarding the treaty’s basic contents with Prime Minister Tanaka and Foreign Minister Kimura. My impression was that all the Japanese friends who heard of it were very happy. When I had talks with Vice Minister Togo, there were arguments, of course. At that time, we did not delve into points of dispute and exchange opinions, so there was no controversy. Also, at that time, the situation was one of the Chinese side having just put forth a treaty draft and the Japanese side needing time to examine it. At that time, I did not expect that the negotiations would drag on for thereafter for three and a half years.  I hope to carry out these treaty talks in my time in office as vice minister. The previous ambassador, Ambassador Ogawa, had a similar hope, and I think that Ambassador Sato, does as well. I do not wish to do anything that would make negotiations worse or such that this treaty would not be concluded. I believe it to be the same for the Japanese side. Personally speaking, I would like to continue making even more efforts for this. I hope, in so doing, that the treaty talks quickly succeed.

Differences on our two sides over the issue of the anti-hegemony clause are still relatively large. I request that Ambassador Sato, Director-General Nakae, and each and every friend of the Japanese side’s delegation once again examine in detail this issue.

China is a socialist country. China's diplomatic policy has been set by Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 27, 28 years ago, we have carried out this policy accordingly. We will continue to follow such a spirit. Our spirit is one of sincerity. Relations between our two countries must be equal and reciprocal, and the treaty’s conclusion must be satisfactory to both sides. We have never deliberately pressed unreasonable demands upon the Japanese side. That is not the way we do things. We do not think that there would be any profit to be gained from such a way of doing things. Our attitude is to hold frank and honest talks with sincerity. We always agree with what is reasonable. However, we frankly express an attitude of rejecting what is unacceptable. We have repeatedly made clear time and again our thinking so that  our Japanese friends may well understand our view. I think that, if we regard the course of the talks over the past few days, the Chinese side basically understands the Japanese side’s thinking and the Japanese side clearly understands the Chinese side’s thinking. It is clear where the difficulties in the treaty negotiations lie. We know where the main problem points are. Frankly speaking, there are no difficulties on the Chinese side. I hope that each friend of the Japanese delegation once again examines our view seriously, in detail, and with rigor.

2. I replied to this as follows:

I think that it has been a benefit and a pleasure to hear just now in great detail Vice Minister Han’s feeling or frame of mind on the negotiations. Vice Minister Han said that a treaty should be concluded to the satisfaction of both sides and that it is not something that one side presses on the other. I, too, have been involved with treaties for over 30 years. Reflecting that experience, the good or bad of a treaty, a good treaty never comes of one side’s imposing its position on the other side, which would always be far from the actual circumstances. A treaty is an expression on paper of the actual relationship between two countries. It is not possible for the relationship to change by treaty nor for to unreasonably change it. In mutually exchanging opinions and understanding one another, a treaty is possible in starting from such understanding. I think it would be ideal if the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China came into being in such a way. In that sense, I would like to continue conducting frank exchanges of opinion with Vice Minister Han.

3. Next, when I proposed unofficial talks, Vice Minister Han agreed to it: “Other than the full session, having separate, non-official meetings is commonly seen, so China also often adopts this method. I think that this method will probably be useful in obtaining mutual understanding.” With this prefatory statement, he suddenly spoke as if the cause of the negotiations not having progressed in over three years was on the Japanese side.  I therefore countered: “What I saying by non-official talks is not discussing substantial treaty issues but talking about ways to move the treaty talks forward.” I then said the following:

The center of the issue is clearly the point that Vice Minister Han indicated. Continuing to stick to our own opposing views, as we are now doing, is unwise and contrary to our mutual interests.

I would therefore like to offer my thoughts.

The basic thinking of both our countries was nearly in agreement over the course of the first, second, and third meetings. I think that each understood the other’s position on part of it. I simply cannot understand why, despite each side’s understanding of the other’s position, such great differences of opinion have emerged in the writing of the particulars of the treaty drafts. I think that it may be due to more and more misunderstanding concerning treaty draft interpretation and implication, as well as to some sense of distrust.

Regarding what Vice Minister Han said before the break, too, I think it is less a great difference in substance differing than it is a difference in how to express it.

4. Next, when I said that I wanted him to point out if what I had said was wrong, Vice Minister Han said:

“I recently said that the Chinese and Japanese people must associate with one another for generations to come, but there must be formal diplomatic relations between our two countries and that the statements, treaties, and agreements of both countries should be equal, fair, and just. We must also place emphasis on the Chinese and Japanese people’s friendship extending forever into the future. We must solve issues from a political viewpoint.” After saying that, he spoke of China’s understanding of the international situation before, for approximately 10 minutes, developing at length the view based on the so-called “Three Worlds theory.” He then said:

The Ambassador said that there is misunderstanding between us in our understanding of the treaty, but I think that there is no misunderstanding. Nor do I think there is a sense of distrust. Nor is it an issue of phrasing. It is one of substance. As I have repeatedly made clear, I think that this issue cannot be resolved if it cannot avoid outside interference and pressure. This issue is, after all, one that must await the serious consideration of Japanese statesmen.

5. To this, I replied:

“I will give a supplementary explanation on a single point: the issue of expression just mentioned. It may be a misunderstanding. I think that the fundamental thinking is the same but that it is an issue of expression, including whether one expresses it or not.” When I said that, Vice Minister Han, “The issue between us is not simply one of phrasing, but one of substance. It is whether or not it agrees with the spirit of the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement. If the Japanese side’s thinking does not agree with that spirit, we cannot agree with that thinking.”

6. Next, I asked, “Vice Minister Han just spoken of an issue for Japanese statesmen to seriously examine. We have done so at the working level until now. Are you hoping for a meeting at the political level?” When I asked that, Vice Minister Han strongly denied it,  saying, “That’s not what I meant. We are diplomats and, at the same time, statesmen. We have a detailed knowledge of diplomacy, of course but, at the same time, Ambassador Sato and each member of the delegation present here ought to have an understanding of politics.”

6. Next, when I inquired as to future meetings, Vice Minister Han answered that he would like to hear the thinking of the Japanese side on when and what kind of issues to discuss. When I proposed   that tomorrow I did not want to speak on the basis of a text but wanted to hold an informal meeting, Vice Minister Han agreed, saying that there were two formats-- that of delegation members meeting alone without the delegation heads and that of the delegation head and one or two members from each side – and that he would leave the decision to the Japanese side. I said that for now I wanted to adopt the format of all members meeting tomorrow and that we would think there on how to proceed with the talks. As for the time, I said that I wanted to start per usual from three o’clock in the afternoon. Vice Minister Han then agreed to it. The meeting ended there.




総番号 (TA) R054156  5357  主管

78年  月28日02時35分  中国発

78年07月28日04時08分  本省着  ア局長

外務大臣殿  佐藤大使


第1434号 極秘 大至急




























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