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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 10, 1978


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    Discussion of hegemony and its effect on Japan, China, and the rest of Asia. Specifically using the Soviet Union as an example of the use of this power.
    "Cable No. 1606, Ambassador Sato to the Foreign Minister, 'Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China Negotiations (1st Ministerial Meeting) (Part 2 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) R057262     5642

Primary: Asian Affairs Bureau Director-General

Sent: China, August 10, 1978, 02:30

Received: MOFA, August 10, 1978, 04:18

To: The Foreign Minister      

From: Ambassador Sato

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

No. 1606 (2 of 2) Secret Top Urgent

(Limited Distribution)

5. Following the break, Minister Huang Hua started with the following statement:

(1) I sincerely commend the point in the Minister’s statement on holding the talks frankly and without reservation. The basis of Chinese diplomacy, too, is the expression of views not perfunctorily but frankly and to the point. This is well known internationally. With such a principle from the start, we have faced the China-Japan treaty negotiations. On the basis of such a spirit, I would like to state our thoughts on the anti-hegemony clause.

(2) The Sino-Japanese Joint Statement is a very important document in the history of relations between China and Japan.  The actions since the normalization of relations have been in agreement with the common desires of China and Japan, as well as with the common interests of every Asian country. The principles of the Joint Statement are a preparation for the development of relations between our two countries. They are its nature and its basis. The China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship advances the Joint Statement. We must not retreat from it. We must not weaken the principles of the Joint Statement. The anti-hegemony clause, stipulated by the leaders of our two governments, is a reflection of the actual world situation. With what kind of attitude should we face the threat of hegemonism in the world today is expressed with the support of our two peoples. The peoples of our two countries and the peoples of the world must struggle against the hegemonism that now exists. This is an idea that is widely known and deeply rooted in the hearts of people. The writing of opposition to hegemony in the Joint Statement does not come from hypothesis but from an actual threat. The international situation since the Joint Statement vividly demonstrates that we must incorporate the anti-hegemony clause as it is into the friendship treaty between China and Japan. Hegemonism threatens China, threatens, Japan, and threatens every country in the world.

(3) In particular, Soviet socialist imperialism these past few years has spurred on its hegemonic plan, more and more advancing its strategic deployments for invasion and building a system to its own benefit. The international situation at present is even more tense than at the time of the Joint Statement. Its origin lies in the struggle between the superpowers, and particularly in Soviet imperialism’s driving an even more frantic hegemonism. We should seriously and frankly face the reality of the international situation. The early conclusion of the friendship treaty between China and Japan, including the anti-hegemony clause, reflects the aspirations of the peoples of our two countries and the peoples of all countries in the world. The Soviet Union is unhappy over this treaty because the Soviet Union has been practicing hegemonism. The Soviet Union has been pressuring and conducting varied and blatant interference against Japan. We are not afraid of Soviet threats and are not affected by them. It is necessary to observe the spirit of the Joint Statement, protect the interests of the peoples of our two countries, and quickly conclude the treaty.

(4) On the basis of such a spirit, I would like to hear the Minister’s thoughts on the hegemony clause, which occupies an important part of the Joint Statement.

6. In reply, Minister Sonoda spoke as follows:

(1) I heard what you said, Minister. I have no objection to your saying that we must not weaken the principles of the Japan-China Joint Communique, or retreat from them, and that it is necessary to quickly conclude the treaty.

(2)  I imagine that you largely understand what I discussed on my New Year’s trip to the Soviet Union. I have not bowed before a single Soviet complaint. By my own choice, I made the following statement concerning the Sino-Soviet issue: “China and the Soviet Union were fraternal countries at one time. China even said that it would learn from the Soviet Union. But now the two countries are fiercely opposed to one another. Japan thinks that it will not do for neighboring China and the Soviet Union to be in conflict. Moreover, not only are China and the Soviet Union in conflict with one another, but that conflict is spilling over to Japan. Japan hopes for a relaxation of tensions between China and the Soviet Union and would like, if the time should come, to stand between the two counties and ease those tensions. Japan will absolutely not join with the Soviet Union and threaten China. At the same time, we are not thinking to cooperate with China to engage in hostile acts against the Soviet Union. Your side seems unfavorable to it, but the friendship treaty between Japan and China will be concluded in the near future. It is not my place to interfere in the matter of what the Soviet Union does about the Sino-Soviet treaty of alliance. I will not interfere, but I cannot overlook Japan’s description in the treaty as the enemy of both countries.” The Soviet Union did not respond concerning this point, escaping responsibility in saying that China had said nothing about it.

(3)  I would like to raise the issue of Asia. Japan regrets having caused trouble in the previous war. Japan committed various errors. One of them was to think of “Asia as one,” to think that in the color of their faces, the color of their eyes, and in their thinking Orientals were alike. However, Asia is not one. Its countries differ from one another in size, strength, history, tradition, custom, religion, and form of government.  Understanding and respecting one another’s differences and acting with an understanding of the other person’s position is, I think, reasonable.

(4) With the issue of hegemony, too, as I said a little while ago, arguing with one another that this is what China thinks and this is what Japan thinks will not settle anything. Understanding the issue of hegemony and struggling against it are in the same direction. I think that if we both understand the other’s real intention if the Chinese side would think of Japan’s position, what kind of treaty we would conclude that would gain the understanding of the Japanese people and their blessing, and the Japanese side would stand in China’s position, considering what kind of treaty we would conclude that would not be an obstacle to China’s future dealing with the Third and Second worlds if we both thought that way, we would settle the issue in a way favorable to both sides.

(5) An early settlement is extremely important for both Japan and for China. Moreover, it is a major opportunity. If China were to say that any time is fine with me, that waiting for two months, three months or a year is fine, and if Japan were to say the same, then, Minister, you and I would probably become the laughingstock of the peoples of the world. I think that you have an understanding about Japan’s situation, but it is still insufficient. It took some effort for me to make a decision in a short period of time and visit China. If I had missed this chance, the next one would have been considerably in the future. Then, with both sides resolved for an early settlement, I would like to have the Sato Han Nianlong meetings continue and work out the points at issue.

7. In reply, Minister Han spoke as follows:

(1)  I value the Minister’s declaring that the Japanese side does not intend to weaken or retreat from the Joint Statement’s opposition to hegemony and wishes an early conclusion to the treaty. Minister, you said that if the Chinese side were to think it fine to put off concluding the treaty for two or three months and the Japanese side were also to think so, then the treaty’s conclusion would be delayed, but the Chinese side has from the start hoped for the treaty’s early conclusion and has not thought of either side slowing the treaty’s conclusion.

(2) The Chinese side’s attitude concerning the Sino-Soviet treaty of alliance is as we mentioned in the Sato Han Nianlong meetings, and I think it fine if I do not raise it again. Minister, when you have met with leaders of the Chinese Government, I believe they clearly expressed their view on the treaty, which long ago became one in name only.

(3) Next, I would like to shift the focus to the anti-hegemony clause, the focus of the talks. Minister, you came to China with the important task of conducting negotiations on the treaty. I therefore request that you explain the thinking of the Government of Japan on the most important issue concerning the treaty of peace and friendship.

8. In reply, Minister Sonoda spoke as follows:

(1) I have come to China with two objectives: to have the Sato Han Nianlong meetings  progress rapidly and then to sign the treaty.

(2) As I have said before about hegemony, it is natural, if there is hegemonic behavior, to oppose it, and we have done so until now. Speaking of the honest feeling of the Japanese people, if there is hegemonic behavior they will openly oppose it. However, they will absolutely not become caught up in the conflict between China and the Soviet Union, nor will they intervene in it. This is the feeling of the majority of the Japanese people. I fully understand what you, Minister, and His Excellency Han are saying. I believe I understand what you are thinking in your heart, even if you do not say it. However, I think that contributing to peace in Asia and the world is the reason for fully understanding the different ways of opposing hegemony and the difference of Japan’s basic diplomatic policy, each side carrying out the struggle against hegemony on the basis of its own position. Now and in the future, it is natural for Japan, without fear of hegemony, to oppose it from Japan’s position. It is not my intent to try to persuade His Excellency through these meetings. What I am stating here is because I desire to have the peoples of our two countries and of Asia hear the words exchanged in these meetings and, further, to have those people who speak maliciously of these negotiations to correctly understand the true intentions of our two sides.

(3) The most important thing concerning opposition to hegemony is the starting point of opposition to hegemony: that neither Japan nor China will invade the other. All the ASEAN foreign ministers at the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting agreed that hegemony in Asia was about the Soviet Union alone. Everyone recognizes the Soviet threat. However, it is also a fact that they are also uneasy about China in the future. For the countries of Asia, yours is a great country and, moreover, they prosper with the cooperation of your country. Each of the ASEAN countries, in the midst of disputes over national boundaries, as well as such problems as dissident movements and guerrilla movements in every country, worries whether or not China will forever more not engage in hegemonic behavior and get along well with each country. Accordingly, the ASEAN countries, including Burma, welcome the concluding of the Japan-China treaty. However, they have an extraordinary interest in the form in which the treaty will be concluded, particularly in the form in which the anti-hegemony clause will be concluded. That means how China will respect the position of the other party and conclude this treaty.

(4) I will next talk about the Japanese people. In Japan, Chinese and Soviet exhibitions opened at the time. The Chinese exhibition had 300,000 visitors. The Soviet side had a tenth of that. Japanese feel differently about China and the Soviet Union. However, as the politicians and business leaders who have visited your country have said, it is not the case that all Japanese feel at ease about your country or trust it. China is an important country for our country. Japan and China’s getting along well with one another is for the sake of Asia’s future. The Japan-China Friendship Association has achieved good results to date, with Japanese sentiment regarding China improving. Frankly speaking, however, it is not the case that there have been no issues to date. If in Japan we said insulting things about Hua Guofeng or Deng Xiaoping, would the Chinese people trust Japan? From the Chinese side there comes from time to time insulting criticism of Japan’s Prime Minister. At those times, the Japanese people are uneasy about whether China will really not interfere in Japan’s internal affairs. The struggle against Narita Airport has turned into a dissident struggle. From the Liberal Democratic Party to the Japan Communist Party, they have no support.  China has invited the chairman of this struggle, welcomed him, and encouraged him. It is a fact that, due to such things, fair-minded Japanese people are worried about China interfering in Japan’s internal affairs and, once it has grown strong, threatening them.

(5) Now, then, Minister, I wish to make a request of you and His Excellency Han. I would like to put together something capable of sweeping away the unease of the peoples of ASEAN and Japan about the anti-hegemony clause and convince them that China forever more will behave well as a friend of Japan. The situation for our two countries is challenging. However, the word “hegemony” appeared at the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Despite the unease among some ASEAN countries, they welcome this treaty’s conclusion. Also, in bringing it in line with the thinking of the United States, which is closely observing this treaty, Japan wishes by all means to conclude a treaty capable of convincing and pleasing the Japanese people. Japan wishes that China, too, conclude a treaty to please and convince Japan, ASEAN, the United States, and every country in the world.

9. In reply, Minister Huang proposed a break. Minister Sonoda again proposed the continuing of the meeting between Sato and Han, but Minister Han said that he would wanted to discuss that point in the afternoon. With the statement that they would meet again at 3:30, he ended the meeting.




総番号 (TA) R057262  5642  主管

78年  月10日02時30分 中国発

78年08月10日04時18分 本省着   ア局長

外務大臣殿  佐藤大使


第1606号(2の2) 極秘 大至急



























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