Friday, 23 March 2007

Japan-China relations are thawing, according to The Australian. China correspondent Rowan Callick reports that a leadership meeting will take place.

But all is not rosy. Differences of opinion on historical events suggested a project "aimed at producing a joint history of the countries' relations". Those differences, and the short time-frame (June 2008), have quashed the project.

Instead, the Chinese and Japanese teams, 10 on each side, will write separately their own take on the history between the countries, both ancient and modern, and will exchange any controversial points on which they disagree, in the hope of diminishing them.

While the Japanese refuse to admit the reality of war-time "comfort women" (the euphemism is Japanese), China holds tight to its adulation of Chairman Mao.

You can just imagine the gormless exchanges between historians on both sides as they edge, in miniscule steps, toward agreement on critical issues. The final products will be worth looking at, however. I look forward to the time when they are completed.

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