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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 10, 1978


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    A discussion on Japanese and Chinese diplomacy as well as the issue of hegemony.
    "Cable No. 1606, Ambassador Sato to the Foreign Minister, 'Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China Negotiations (1st Ministerial Meeting) (Part 1 of 2)'," August 10, 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 Steven Mercado.
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Number: (TA) R057246     5641

Primary: Asian Affairs Bureau Director-General

Sent: China, August 10, 1978, 01:40

Received: MOFA, August 10, 1978, 03:22

To: The Foreign Minister      

From: Ambassador Sato

Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China Negotiations (1st Ministerial Meeting)

No. 1606 (Part 1 of 2) Secret Top Urgent

(Limited Distribution)

The first meeting between Foreign Minister Sonoda and Foreign Minister Huang Hua took place, from 9:30 am to 12:20 pm (with a break of 30 minutes from 10:37) on the 9th, in a room of the Great Hall of the People. A summary of its main points follows. In addition,  the participants were, on the Japanese side: the Minister, the Ambassador, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Takashima, the Asian Affairs Bureau Director-General, the Treaties Bureau Director-General, Consul Donowaki, China Division Director Tajima, Executive Secretary Sato, [name blacked out] (interpreter), and Principal Senior Director Togo (following the break); and on the Chinese side: Foreign Minister Huang Hua, Foreign Vice Minister Han Nianlong, Ambassador to Japan Fu Hao, Asian Affairs Department Director Shen Pei, Asian Affairs Department Deputy Director Wang Xiaoyun, Protocol Department Deputy Director Gao Jianzhong, Treaty Department Deputy Director Shen Weiliang, Japanese Affairs Division Director Ding Min, Japanese Affairs Division Deputy Director Wang Xiaoxian (interpreter), and Japanese Affairs Division Deputy Director Xu Dunxin.

1. At the start, when Foreign Minister Huang asked whether he had had a good rest last night, Foreign Minister Sonoda said that he had had a good rest and felt good. Following Foreign Minister Huang’s speaking of Foreign Minister Sonoda’s making preparations over a long period of time and coming here from a great distance, the meeting began. First, Foreign Minister Huang made the following statement.

Representing the Chinese Government, I sincerely welcome His Excellency Foreign Minister Sonoda and his party to China. It has been nearly six years since the governments of China and Japan announced the Joint Statement on September 29, 1972. This period has seen the favorable development of relations in every field between the two countries. The understanding and friendship between the two peoples have greatly increased. This has become a good basis for the future development of both countries. An important task written in the Joint Statement is the conclusion of a treaty of peace and friendship, and from this point forward we must carry out that task. Over three years have passed since our two sides first began negotiations. Recently, meetings between negotiation teams of the two countries, led by Ambassador Sato and Vice Minister Han Nianlong, made a certain degree of progress on the relevant treaty clauses.  I appraise His Excellency the Foreign Minister for making this visit to China, for having the passion of desiring to carry out further efforts for the conclusion of the treaty, and for having the conviction of desiring to achieve results.

With the meetings until the present phase, both sides have deepened mutual understanding and reached consensus on many issues.  Both sides have stated that they support the principles of the Joint Statement and wish for an early conclusion to the treaty. On the important issue of opposition to hegemony, the views of both the Chinese and Japanese sides are unanimous in not seeking hegemony and in opposing any attempt to seek hegemony by any country or group of countries. Both sides have put forth proposals and plunged into examinations on the language of the anti-hegemony clause.  The focus of negotiations remains the anti-hegemony clause. This is not an issue of language. Our side has repeatedly pointed out that it is a real issue of whether or not we protect the principles of the Joint Statement, act decisively to conclude the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between China and Japan, and improve relations between our two countries.

Between China and Japan is a history of exchange extending 2000 years. There was a period that we regret, but it has mostly been one friendly exchange. It is the common wish of both countries that Japan and China from one generation to the next have friendly relations. Both Japan and China are in the Asia-Pacific region and both are facing important issues in the present international situation. We should regard issues from the general situation of the world. If we consider them from a politically high point of view, the issues under negotiation, including the anti-hegemony clause, are not difficult to settle.

Foreign Minister Sonoda is an old friend of China, a highly popular statesman, and someone eager for an early conclusion of the treaty. With the Foreign Minister’s personal visit to China, one can say that the negotiations have now entered a new stage. We hope that Foreign Minister Sonoda’s visit to China will drive the negotiations and contribute to an early conclusion.  I believe that, if we protect the principles of the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, seeking common ground on major questions while reserving differences on minor ones, then there is no obstacle that we cannot overcome. Together with His Excellency Foreign Minister Sonoda and all the Japanese friends, we would like to work to carry out the important task given us by the peoples of our two countries.

My statement ends here. I would now like to hear your view on how to advance the talks from this point forward.

2. Minister Sonoda then made the following statement:

I am sincerely grateful for the gracious introduction given just now by His Excellency Foreign Minister Huang Hua, as well as for preparations quickly made in a short period of time, despite my sudden request to visit China, and the warm welcome given me. Vice Minister Han Nianlong and Ambassador Sato have already held talks fourteen times. I particularly pay my respects to Vice Minister Han who, while ill, has worked earnestly to carry out this important task. The negotiation teams of the two countries, and I, have seriously looked at the 14 previous meetings. I believe that they have been significant for deepening our mutual understanding. I think that this treaty’s early conclusion would be significant for the prosperity not of Japan and China alone, but for Asia. I highly appraise the results of the negotiations so far and am satisfied with them. I wish to say how very pleased are the Japanese people, too, with the progress in the Sato Han Nianlong meetings.

Now, then, to speak frankly about these meetings, I think that mutual understanding and trust between both sides are still not sufficient. That is to say, the situation is such that the Chinese side says regarding the Japanese side’s proposal that it bows to the Soviet Union or is under pressure and the Japanese side feels somehow bound regarding the Chinese side’s proposal. My visit to China this time is not because negotiations are deadlocked they have been advancing smoothly but because I think it would be better to have an early settlement. I would like you to understand that, if I have come here and am directly engaged in talks, it is with the thought of helping the Sato Han Nianlong talks advance smoothly. That is why I have come to China.

I further wish to say that, in advancing the talks, I would like to discuss things as they are, frankly and without exaggeration. I would like you to say anything, because it does not matter whether it is disagreeable to me or not. I, too, may say some things that anger you. If we speak frankly to one another, I think that the Sato Han Nianlong talks will also go smoothly, so please allow me to speak frankly.

First, in today’s meeting, the main point is talking in detail about the international situation, the situation in Asia, Japan’s diplomatic policy, and Japan-China relations. However, speaking frankly and with each side sincerely hoping for an early settlement of the negotiations, it will not do for us to talk on and on about them. Accordingly, keeping in mind the smooth advance of the negotiations, I would like to proceed with the talks.

3. In reply, Minister Huang Hua spoke as follows:

I thank Minister Sonoda for his statement of appreciation just now to the Chinese side. The Chinese side has done only what it naturally should do. Now, then, the issue of concluding the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China is one to which the peoples of the two countries and the peoples of the world are presently paying attention. It is the main issue for Foreign Minister Sonoda’s visit to China. I would like, then, for us to focus our energies and talk first about the anti-hegemony clause. After that, I would be happy to discuss in detail the international situation and the issues between Japan and China. As for the diplomatic policies of both sides and the positions of both sides in the present international situation, both sides have already repeatedly stated them in the Sato Han Nianlong meetings. Between both sides there are both points in common and differences, which is very natural. Nor is this  an obstacle to seeing the treaty’s early conclusion.

4. Therefore, Minister Sonoda said: Having heard what you just said, Minister, I would like to revise my idea. First, I have no objection to discussing the issue of hegemony. However, I would also like to talk about issues associated with it. When he asked which would speak first, Minister Huang said that he wished to hear the Japanese side’s statement first, so Minister Sonoda spoke as follows:

(1) Well, then, with your permission, I would like to speak. The relationship between Japan and the United States has already been told to the Chinese side by Ambassador Sato. It has been made known to the outside world that the United States has stated its wish for the success of the Japan-China treaty. However, to speak of the actual details as they are, both President Carter and Secretary Vance have said that they wish us actively to conclude the Japan-China treaty. I think, Minister, that you know the reasons for that. One of those reasons is that the United States desires to quickly normalize relations with your country, but there are those in the United States who argue for caution, so the thinking is that the conclusion of a Japan-China treaty will produce beneficial conditions for swaying domestic opinion in the United States. The second reason, it can clearly be said, is consideration regarding the Soviet Union. The objective for concluding the Japan-China treaty differs from normalization between the United States and China, but the thinking is the same.

(2) Next, I would like to raise the issue of how we deal with the Soviet Union.  As you know, the Soviet government and press have often been making protests and strong criticisms regarding the Japan-China treaty.  This is what your country calls Soviet intimidation. I think your country also knows what kind of attitude I have shown each time there has been such intimidating behavior. The Soviet Union has mentioned me by name. However, afterwards I have worked more and more for the early conclusion of the Japan-China treaty.

(3) There was recently a visit to Japan from Vietnam of its foreign vice-minister. I made clear at the start that we would offer aid on the condition that Vietnam not deviate from an independent line. We intend to halt aid when that independent line disappears. In addition, I conveyed that we would like to give economic aid to the extent possible to Cambodia. There have not been concrete discussions yet, but I told him that we would like to have concrete discussions when Ambassador Sato visits Cambodia.

(4)   Further, at the time of the recent summit of advanced countries, the British foreign minister asked whether providing arms to China would not trouble Japan. I would like you to interpret my talking this way about various things as a sign of my regard for your country, but it would trouble us if you accepted them. This is my personal issue of struggle against hegemony. What I would like to say is that carrying out struggle against hegemony is a matter of course, but it is not limited too a region. Speaking of the issue of the Soviet Union and hegemony, the issue between your country and the Soviet Union differs from that between Japan and the Soviet Union. What I would like to explain is that we are in reality creating struggle against hegemony, but your country’s way of doing it is different from that of Japan.

(5) Another thing is that there is a little difference between your country and Japan in basic diplomatic policy. When it comes to Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, it is not that Japan’s diplomacy is bound by Article 9, which is itself the highest expression of opposition to hegemony. It is itself mankind’s first thorough manifestation of peace diplomacy.  In short, it is based on the thinking that if one were to fight hegemony with hegemony, then those on both sides who fought would perish.

(6) When the Joint Communique was issued in 1972, the word hegemony appeared, but it was an unfamiliar one. From the days of old in Japan, there were the terms Kingly Way and Hegemonic Way. Once, before Sun Yat-sen left Japan for the last time, his words were: To exert influence over a country by force is the Hegemonic Way. To exert influence over a country by winning the hearts of the people is the Kingly Way.  He told his Japanese friends not to abandon the Kingly Way and go down the Hegemonic Way, but your country is a communist one, so you decided to reject both the Kingly Way and the Hegemonic Way. I can understand it. However, the terms Kingly Way and Hegemonic Way still remain in Japan. The press then made a fuss at the time of the Joint Communique’s announcement when they saw the word hegemony.  However, in the six years since then, the concept of hegemony has been taking root among the Japanese people. The Japanese are absolutely opposed to relying on force to make threats. Yet the Japanese people cannot accept a policy of branding one country as a hegemon and adopt hostile relations against it. This point relates to the talks in the meetings between Ambassador Sato and Vice Minister Han. It is not a question of a fear of offending the Soviet Union. We are seeking to conclude the treaty in an atmosphere in which the Japanese people offer their blessing and consent. If I may add another word, I would like to create a treaty where, in the event that the Soviet Union said something, one could say that the Soviet Union was unreasonable.

(At this point Minister Huang Hua said that, as the meeting had gone on for over an hour, he wanted to take a break. Minister Sonoda agreed to this, and the break began.)




総番号 (TA) R057246  5641  主管

78年  月10日01時40分 中国発

78年08月10日03時22分  本省着 ア局長

外務大臣殿  佐藤大使


第1606号(2の1) 極秘 大至急


























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