Hu Jintao

Give and take urged on history

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2007, 12:00am


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Mainlanders should be prepared to agree to disagree over sensitive historical issues with Japan so that the two countries can move forward with their bilateral relationship, according to the Chinese head of a Sino-Japanese joint history project.

In a forum yesterday, Bu Ping , a historian with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Chinese people should take a wider perspective on outstanding issues even if they could not completely settle their historical differences with Japan.

The public comments were the first by a member of the Chinese delegation since mainland and Japanese historians met in Tokyo last month for a second round of talks on a government-mandated study aimed at smoothing over sharp differences on historical issues.

Mr Bu said mainland and Japanese researchers would file separate reports that would then be used to compile a final document next year defining areas of agreement and disagreement.

The historians first met late last year in Beijing after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met President Hu Jintao in a fence-mending visit in October. The group of 20 academics and diplomats, 10 from each side, aims to conclude the study next year.

Mr Bu said the study would cover nine aspects of the modern history of Sino-Japanese relations in chronological order and examine sensitive issues including the 1937 Nanking Massacre.

Mr Bu said there would be different views in the final reports, because the teams were working to a tight schedule and the researchers did not have sufficient understanding of the other nation.

He appealed to Chinese youth, especially those resentful of Japanese actions in the past, to think things through rationally and calmly and to understand that the provocative views of Japanese right wingers did not represent the majority of Japanese people.