This study focuses on Sino-Japanese relations in the period 1972-1998, primarily making use of the translated Japanese documents, provided by the Wilson Digital Archive, which record the Sino-Japanese normalisation negotiations from 1972. Previous works studying Sino-Japanese relations during this period have made little use of these documents or have understated the role of diplomatic normalisation in the development of Sino-Japanese relations during the later-20th century. My study, in utilising these documents, will provide a different approach to studying Sino-Japanese relations by not only studying relations in this period from the perspective of Sino-Japanese normalisation in 1972, but also by contextualising the issues which Sino-Japanese delegations faced in 1972 in the deep and controversial history between Japan and China since the late-19th century and understanding how the results of the 1972 negotiations set the stage for relations up to 1998.
This study is divided into three chapters, all of which focus on different aspects of the Sino-Japanese relationship, how these were dealt with when normalisation negotiations commenced in 1972 and how Sino-Japanese relations developed in subsequent years as a result of normalisation. These chapters will study how negotiations in 1972 dealt with and were defined by the issue of Taiwan, strategic and economic motivations, and the contentious historical controversies which existed between the two nations. By studying these three different aspects of Sino-Japanese normalisation, this study concludes that Sino-Japanese normalisation failed to bring about any meaningful developments between Japan and China and had the adverse effect of setting up many of the bitter disputes which developed between China and Japan in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
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