Hu: Sino-Japan ties face opportunities

By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-20 06:53

More than two decades ago, when 3,000 young Japanese visited China, President Hu Jintao - then the chairman of the All-China Youth Federation - was one of the hosts.

Last night, he hosted a grand banquet at the Great Hall of the People to a 220-strong Japanese delegation, comprising mainly of descendants and representatives of the participants at the Japan-China youth meet in 1984.

"Time can change one's appearance, but it can't change the friendship between the two peoples," Hu said, recalling the largest-ever gathering of its kind 23 years ago.

Chinese President Hu Jintao presents two Fuwa, the 2008 Olympic Games mascots, to Japanese students during a meeting with a Japanese youth delegation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing June 19, 2007. [Wu Zhiyi]
Addressing the delegation led by former Japanese prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, he said the two countries should build their partnership with a "bilateral, regional and global" perspective for mutual benefit.

However, Hu noted, the relationship should be built on the principle of "taking history as a mirror and looking to the future".

"Developing a long-term, good-neighborly friendship conforms to the interests of the two countries and the two peoples and is also conducive to peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world at large."

Thanks to joint efforts, he said, the recent political impasse between the two countries has been broken and "China-Japan relations are facing great opportunities for further growth".

"We should seize the opportunity to build and develop the mutually-beneficial relationship between the two countries."

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries; and the visit is part of the activities celebrating the 2007 China-Japan Culture and Sports Year.

The delegates, who arrived in Beijing on the last leg of their week-long friendship tour, also visited Shanghai and Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province in Northwest China.

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Besides the sumptuous meal last night, they were treated to Chinese specialty zongzi, or dumplings made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves and eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival - which was yesterday.

Famous Chinese and Japanese artists performed songs, dances and acrobatics on a stage with a backdrop of the Great Wall of China and the Fuji Mountain of Japan with a peace dove flying over them. On top of the stage hung a banner with Chinese characters meaning "Generations of Friendship between China and Japan".

During the gathering, Hu interacted informally with some of the delegates.

Speaking at the banquet, Nakasone, 82, said both Japan and China are powers in East Asia and their friendship and cooperation are "important foundations for the development of the two countries, prosperity of Asia and peace in the world."

Nakasone, who was prime minister from 1982 to 1987 and is now retired from politics, is credited with great efforts to promote exchanges between the two countries while he was in power.

"We should take concrete action to respond to the warm hospitality and friendship that China has shown us," he said. "We have the responsibility to push forward Japan-China relations." 

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