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Sunday, May 24, 2015, 11:57

Xi backs exchanges to better China-Japan ties

By Xinhua
Xi backs exchanges to better China-Japan ties

President Xi Jinping gives a speech during the China-Japan friendship exchange meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 23, 2015. ( Photo / Xinhua)

BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a gathering of more than 3,000 Japanese visitors in Beijing Saturday to support people-to-people exchanges between the two nations.

"The China-Japan friendship is rooted in the people, and the future of the bilateral relationship is in the hand of the people of the two countries," Xi said as he delivered a speech at the meeting at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

The 3,000-member Japanese delegation arrived in China on Friday, an event observers hope will deepen mutual understanding and trust between the two countries.

Recalling the long history of interaction between the two neighbors, Xi said that peace and friendship have been the main theme in the mind of the Chinese and Japanese people.

"History has proved that the China-Japan friendship benefits not only the two countries and the two peoples, but also Asia and the world at large," Xi said, calling for joint efforts from both sides to cherish and safeguard the friendship.

He said the Chinese government attaches great importance to the ties with Japan and supports people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

"We stand ready to work with the Japanese side to advance the neighborly friendship and cooperation between the two countries on the basis of the four political documents," said the president.

The four political documents refer to the China-Japan Joint Statement inked in 1972, the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1978, the China-Japan Joint Declaration of 1998 and a joint statement on advancing strategic and mutually beneficial relations that was signed in 2008.

As this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Xi said the crimes committed by the Japanese militarists during Japan's war of aggression should never be covered.

"Not only people from China and other Asian countries invaded by Japan, but also, I believe, the Japanese people with a sense of justice and conscience, will not allow any attempt to distort or beautify the history of invasion conducted by Japanese militarists," he said.

"The Japanese people were also victims in the war," Xi said, adding that the two sides should learn from the history and make joint efforts to pursue lasting friendship to contribute to peace in Asia and the whole world.

Xi highlighted the important role of the youth in cementing friendship and promoting peace between the two countries.

Echoing Xi, Toshihiro Nikai, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party's General Council, pledged on behalf of the delegation to work harder to improve the relationship between Japan and China.

The Japanese delegation included heads of local governments and big enterprises -- a group willing to intensify ties with China.

At the gathering, the Chinese and Japanese participants issued a joint proposal to enhance people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in pursuit of China-Japan friendship from generation to generation.

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