Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ties 'unaffected by Japan's political change'

Japanese politicians from different parties have assured China that the bilateral relationship will not be affected by changes in their domestic politics, a senior Chinese official said yesterday.

"This time I had contact with Japanese politicians including leaders of different parties such as the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party and the Citizen's Party," said Liu Hongcai, vice-minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

"One main concern we raised is whether the strategic relationship of mutual benefits between the two countries can withstand Japan's political situation and keep going. The answers I got were all affirmative."

"Whoever becomes Japan's prime minister, the strategic and mutually beneficial relations between China and Japan must persist, " Liu said.

With concerted efforts, China and Japan "will reap new fruits and add fresh chapter to the annals of bilateral relations," Liu said.

Liu made the remarks at the 4th Beijing-Tokyo Forum which ended yesterday. The forum was co-founded by China Daily and Tokyo-based Genron-NPO as a platform for dialogue between representatives from different walks of life in the two countries.

At a time Japan's political situation is clouded in uncertainty with prime minister Yasuo Fukuda's sudden resignation earlier this month, the forum was centered on keeping the momentum of China-Japan cooperation in various aspects such as trade, security, disaster relief and environmental protection.

"The world is facing some hard problems at present," Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Sadakazu Tanigaki said at the forum yesterday, referring to the US financial crisis and other global challenges.

"It is very necessary for our two countries to maintain heart-to-heart communication and play our due roles in the global trend," he said.

A joint statement released by China Daily and Genron NPO said organizers of the forum see it as a "long-term mission" to promote multi-layer dialogue between the two countries.

The statement also acknowledged that there remains room for improving understanding between the two peoples as a recent survey indicated different impressions in the two countries of each other.

Zhao Qizheng, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of China's top political advisory body, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said there is reason for optimism.

"Some people's impressions about Japan are associated with the Nanjing Massacre. This is natural view about the history," Zhao said.

"But there are also Chinese whose impression is about Japan's ODA and the earthquake rescue teams," he added.

"In the future, more Chinese will remember Japan's sakura and Mount Fuji with more and more tourism and people-to-people exchanges. This is something we can expect."

Source: China Daily

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