Deng Xiaoping

We Should Take a Longer-Range View In Developing Sino-Japanese Relations


Published: March 25, 1984
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


Last year the leaders of our two countries made a wise and far-sighted policy decision in Tokyo: to consider and develop Sino-Japanese relations from a long-term point of view. They decided to develop relations through the 21st century and on into the 22nd and 23rd centuries, so that the people of our two countries will be friends forever. This is something more important than all the other issues between us.

If we take a broader and longer-range view, it will be good for our cooperation. The cooperation benefits not just one side but both, the two countries and their people. We are satisfied with the current level of Sino-Japanese relations, and I think both sides are. But I believe Your Excellency will agree that the development of relations still leaves something to be desired and that the non-governmental economic and technological cooperation between our two countries is still very weak. We should appreciate it if all enterprises in your country — large, medium-sized and small — strengthened their cooperation with us. We hope the Japanese government will encourage them to take a longer-range view. China is short of funds, so that it has been unable to develop many of its resources. If they are developed, we shall be able to supply more of Japan’s needs. And if Japan invests in China now, it will benefit greatly in future.

China’s current situation is generally good. The question that has been on our minds during recent years is whether we shall be able to achieve our objective of quadrupling the annual gross value of industrial and agricultural output by the end of the century. It has been five years since we set that objective. Judging from what we have accomplished during those five years, it is likely that we shall reach it. If, by the end of the century, the annual gross value of industrial and agricultural output is quadrupled, and the average per capita GNP reaches US$800, then we shall have a society in which people lead a fairly comfortable life. Realizing this society is what we call Chinese-style modernization. Quadrupling production, attaining a fairly comfortable level of life and Chinese-style modernization are all new concepts we have formed.

The annual gross value of industrial and agricultural output is to be quadrupled in two decades. The first decade will be used mainly to prepare for faster development in the second. The preparations cover four fields: energy, communications, raw and semi-finished materials and intellectual resources. These demand huge sums of money, which is something we don’t have. So we must keep to the policy of opening to the outside world, and we welcome international investment.

As for my personal experience, I am in the group picture you have seen on exhibition in the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, which was taken in Paris when I was only 19. I joined the revolutionary ranks at 18, and all I wanted was to make the revolution succeed. I have been through many ordeals. I came back from the Soviet Union in 1927, and at the end of that year I became Secretary-General of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. I was 23 at the time and didn’t have any competence or knowledge to speak of, but I managed. At 25 I led the Bose Uprising in Guangxi and helped establish the Seventh Army of the Red Army. After that I was in the army until the end of the War of Liberation. As for what happened to me after the founding of the People’s Republic, you know about that: first I became a high-ranking official and then I had to go “live in the cowshed”.

You asked me what pleased me the most and what saddened me the most. The happiest time in my life was the three years of the War of Liberation. We were poorly equipped then, but we kept winning battles. We won those victories in spite of being weaker and outnumbered. I was also happy about all the achievements we scored after the founding of the People’s Republic. There were some mistakes for which I am also to blame, because I was not a junior cadre but a leading cadre — beginning in 1956, I was General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee. At the time seven portraits were hung everywhere in China as a sign of respect, and mine was one of them. So I was responsible for both the Party’s achievements and its mistakes before the “cultural revolution”. We should not attribute all the mistakes we made at the time to Chairman Mao. So far as the “cultural revolution” is concerned, that is quite another matter. The saddest period I went through is, of course, the “cultural revolution”. As a matter of fact, even though I was in difficult circumstances, I always believed that things would change. A few years ago some foreign friends asked how I was able to survive that period. I told them that it was simply because I was optimistic. That is why I am still in good health. If you are worrying all the time, how can you get through the days? After the downfall of the Gang of Four, I came back to work. I believe that in the seven years since 1977 I have not made any major mistakes. But how well have I done really? Let’s leave that question to history!

(Excerpt from a talk with Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone of Japan.)