Search in

Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 28, 1978


  • Citation

    get citation

    The delegations debate the wording for the anti-hegemony clause.
    "Cable No. 1448, Ambassador Sato to the Foreign Minister, 'Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China Negotiations (6th Meeting)'," 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.
  • share document


English HTML

Number: (TA) R054413     5379

Primary: Asian Affairs Bureau Director-General

Sent: China, July 28, 1978,  20:40

Received: MOFA, July 28, 1978,  22:09

To: The Foreign Minister      

From: Ambassador Sato

Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China Negotiations (6th Meeting)

No. 1448 Secret Top Urgent

(Limited Distribution)

Re: Outgoing Telegram No. 1434

On the 28th, the sixth meeting took place for two hours and 50 minutes, from 3:00 to 5:50 pm (including a break period of 45 minutes). A summary of its main points is as follows: (Participants on our side: Myself, Nakae, and [name blacked out]; the other side: Han Nianlong and Wang Xiaoyun (interpreter))

1. At the start, I offered five points on which we had agreed in the meetings to date: (1) This treaty is not an alliance treaty, nor is it prejudicial to the interests of third countries; (2) neither Japan nor China seeks hegemony; (3) should there be a country that attempts to seek hegemony, no matter which one, we would adopt a policy of opposition to such an attempt; (4) this treaty does not name the Soviet Union; (5) Japan is aware of China’s Soviet policy, China is aware of Japan’s Soviet policy, and neither will interfere in the policy of the other. I said: “I think that where our two sides differ, in regard to these issues of substance, is in the ‘what’ or the ‘how’ of expressing them or not expressing them.” When I asked for the other side’s view of this understanding, Vice Minister Han urged me to continue with my statement. I therefore spoke of another issue: Vice Minister Han, in reading “Soviet Union” for “any specific third country,” is thinking to say that “this treaty of opposition to hegemony is not directed against the Soviet Union.” I point out that this point is the one most different from ours and that we did not write it with that in mind.

2. In response, Vice Minister Han said: As I have repeatedly said these past several days, whether “against any third country” or “against any specific third country,” China cannot agree to it. I then explained: We are not at all thinking of making “against any third country” in this clause mean the distinct “against any specific third country” in this treaty.  Still less are we thinking of having “any specific country” signify that “opposition to hegemony is not directed against the Soviet Union.” There is an aspect of possible direction against the Soviet Union, but it is not something that indicates and targets the Soviet Union alone.

3. However, having understood that Vice Minister Han was thinking more and more of pointing to the “Soviet Union,” with the addition of the term “any specific,” I made clear that there was a difference in thinking there and said that we had to have you understand that we were not thinking of that. Vice Minister Han then said that it really was this clause that had to be settled in these negotiations and that the other clauses were comparatively easy…. [ellipsis in original text]. I therefore said: I am well aware that this clause is the point that we should settle. The difference is, I think, that the Chinese side’s position is that, as it is understood that this treaty is not directed against any third country, there is no need to put that in writing, but our side is saying: what is wrong with putting that in writing? Vice Minister Han then confirmed that that was the point of difference between the two sides.

4. Then, I further said: We are not making this treaty only from an understanding of the present international situation. Considering the future as well, it would be better to place the anti-hegemony clause clearly within the treaty, but it would be better not to limit it to the Soviet Union alone. Vice Minister Han then said: Nothing names the Soviet Union. Both Japan and China stated their intention to oppose any country that would seek hegemony. Now Japan has devised the term “any specific.” Even saying that I find it interesting, not well understanding the Japanese “tokutei no,” I see that in English it is rendered as “any specific,” which is not good because it points to something concrete. Japan is becoming more and more worried about offending the Soviet Union. I countered: We are not thinking exceedingly about the Soviet Union, then said, “In any case, we must report now to Tokyo. I think it was beneficial to have made clear the difference in our ways of thinking. I think that they will think of it in Tokyo, too. I would like the Chinese side, too, to consider it.” Vice Minister Han then, after speaking at length of the importance of these negotiations and the significance and history of this clause, underscored that, “My hope is to have the Ambassador, in reporting to his country, and Japan, in examining it, handle it dispassionately. It is a very serious, very important issue.” He also emphasized that, “It must be satisfactory to both the Japanese and Chinese sides.”

5. After that, [Asian Affairs Department] Deputy Director Wang Xiaoyun stated: At the start there was no problem when the Joint Statement was issued, but various issues began to emerge from the Japanese side. The problem is that, in the past few years, Japan’s media organizations (he did not say the Government of Japan) gave the Japanese public the impression that “any specific third country” was the “Soviet Union.” Under such circumstances, it would be inappropriate to insert the term “any specific third country.”

He said: The Chinese side does not limit opposition to the Soviet Union, nor is the Chinese draft or the Chinese side’s explanation limited to the Soviet Union.

6. I said: There has been no change in Japan’s position from the time that the Joint Communique was issued to the present. There are differences between it and China’s position, but we are not withdrawing from the Joint Communique. If both sides do not narrow the differences, a resolution will not be possible. However, I do not at all think that a settlement is not possible. Also, concerning Deputy Director Wang Xiaoyun’s statement, because it has been made clear that there is no difference in thinking between Japan and China, I would like from the Chinese side as well to consider their statements.

7. Next, I said: It would be useful for the Chinese side to indicate the issues in regard to the articles other than Article 3, as it would be useful in promoting discussion, but your side simply said, “We can well understand your feeling in saying that, but the other issues are those that we can discuss without difficulty. Of course, it is not that there are no differences of opinion. However, compared with Article 3, they are easy to settle.” Therefore, Nakae again said: “I understand that settling Article 3 is important but, as we will have to negotiate at some time the other articles, if we could have you tell us which points are an issue, it will be expedient to future talks.  You say that, ‘…. [ellipsis in original text] of course it is not that there are no differences,’ but we have still not been exchanging opinions, so we would like to have the Chinese side say where it thinks the differences could be.” The other side went on break without answering.

8. After the break, Vice Minister Han, after highly appraising the results obtained so far, said: Although the Japanese side has made the anti-hegemony clause complicated, these negotiations have a very historic significance, so I want to put time and effort into them and obtain excellent results. After that, he said: Ambassador Sato has called for a single common expression for opposition to hegemony but I would like to hear concretely the Ambassador’s opinion on what kind of expression would be good. He also said: The Ambassador said that there is the issue of “whether to write it or not” as a difference of opinion, but this is what I think. He then said the following:

“For example, can you not consider deleting Sentence 1 of Article 3,  where our two sides have a difference of opinion? If we do this, I think that we may be able to narrow the gap on both sides and possibly reach an early compromise.”

Further, as for the points at issue regarding the articles other than Article 3, he merely answered that we would understand if we carefully check and compare the drafts of the Japanese and Chinese sides.

9. In response, after rebutting as unconvincing the point that the Japanese side had made the matter complicated, I said: You had told us to consider the issue of expression, but we would like the Chinese side as well to think about it. Also, regarding the deletion issue, I simply said: “You do not find satisfactory the Japanese side’s thinking and therefore find it hard to agree to it. I will take your kind suggestion to Tokyo and we shall see what comes next.”

10. Regarding the next meeting, as there had been from our side no particular meeting proposal, it was agreed to take a break on the 29th (Saturday) and,  in any case, to meet on the 31st (Sunday) from 3:00 pm.

In addition, in view of the numerous extremely delicate points contained in today’s meeting, once again I particularly request that one handle this with the greatest care.




総番号 (TA) R054413  5379  主管

78年  月28日20時40分  中国発

78年07月28日22時09分  本省着  アジア局長

外務大臣殿  佐藤大使


第1448号 極秘 大至急



















It appears your Web browser is not configured to display PDF files. No worries, just click here to download the PDF file.

Click here to view the PDF file in a new window.

PDFs cannot be printed inline in the page. To print a PDF, you must first download the file and open it in a PDF viewer.