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Jiang Calls for Lasting Sino-Japanese Friendship
Lasting peace and friendship between China and Japan conform to the fundamental interests of both countries and the growth of Sino-Japanese good-neighborly relations contributes to regional and global peace and development, President Jiang Zemin said in Beijing on Sunday.

President Jiang made these remarks at a grand gathering in the Great Hall of the People Sunday evening to mark the 30th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations.

It is the most important to adhere to "viewing history as a mirror and looking forward to the future" while summing up the history of Sino-Japanese exchanges and looking to the prospects of Sino-Japanese friendship, Jiang said.

The two countries should all the more live in harmony in the 21st century which is full of promises, and the lasting peace and friendship conform to the fundamental interests of both China and Japan, Jiang said.

The gathering was attended by more than 13,000 people across Japan from various walks of life.

Led by former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, Japan's Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Chikage Ogi, TakeshiNoda, leader of Japanese New Conservative Party, Taku Yamazaki, Fuyushiba Tetsuzo and Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-generals of the three ruling parties in Japan, and more than 60 diet members, the Japanese tourists came to China for sightseeing and non-governmental exchanges organized by the National Tourism Administration of China, in the biggest event ever held in the two countries' histories.

China and Japan, as close neighbors separated only by a strip of water, share deep historical and cultural traditions and broad based common interests.

The two countries have had unfortunate experiences in modern times, Jiang noted. The Japanese militarism's invasion of China have brought the Chinese people untold sufferings and the people in Japan too paid heavy prices for it.

The two countries had made noticeable progress in bilateral ties since the normalization 30 years ago, marked the exchange of personnel and economic and cultural cooperation on an unprecedented scale, as well as important consensus and guiding principles shaped politically, he said.

Jiang went on to say that the growth of Sino-Japanese good-neighborly relations has not only brought great benefits to both sides, but also contributed to regional and even global peace and development.

It is the most important to adhere to "viewing history as a mirror and looking forward to the future" while summing up the history of Sino-Japanese exchanges and looking to the prospects of Sino-Japanese friendship, Jiang said.

"Taking history as a mirror" is meant to conscientiously draw on historical lessons and keep onto the road of Sino-Japanese friendship, he said, adding that "lessons learned from the past can serve as a guide for the future."

"Facing to the future" is meant to take into account the overall situation of Sino-Japanese friendship and focus on the reality to advance Sino-Japanese relations.

Noting that the Chinese government and people sincerely hope to develop long-term, steady good-neighborly relations with Japan, he said statesmen, particularly leaders of both countries, should give scope to their due guiding role from the height of history, consistently steering the orientation of bilateral friendship.

The two countries should increase their trust and cooperation under the guidance of Sino-Japanese Joint Statement and two other political documents for the good of the people of the two countries as well as peace and development in the region and the rest of the world, he said.

Speaking highly of the irreplaceable role of non-governmental friendly ties in Sino-Japanese relations, Jiang said the people would never forget old friends who had been dedicated to Sino-Japanese friendship, while encouraging more new friends, to join in the ranks of Sino-Japanese friendship.

The two governments and insightful personages from various walks of life in both countries should continue to create conditions and vigorously advance and support the friendly exchanges of people of both countries, particularly the younger generation.

Prior to the gathering, President Jiang Zemin and Vice-President Hu Jintao met with leading figures on the Japanese delegation, including Hashimoto and Ogi, and had a picture taken with them.

In the new century, the importance of Sino-Japanese relations had not been lowered but enhanced steadily, interdependence of the two countries kept strengthening instead of being weakened, and their common interests have expanded instead of being lessened, Jiang acknowledged.

"Only if China and Japan enjoy friendship through the generations, can they share a bright future," Jiang said. "This complies with the fundamental interests of both sides."

Ryutaro Hashimoto said Japan attached great importance to the commemorative activities. In term of the current China trip's scale and the number of parliamentarians involved, he noted, this event ranks the first in Japanese history.

Personages from various Japanese circles are resolved to make still greater efforts for the overall development of bilateral ties in the new century, he said.

President Jiang met with more than 5,000 Japanese guests in the Banquet Hall of the Great Hall of the People. He kept waving to them in acknowledgment and had cordial handshakes time and again with some of these Japanese friends amid enthusiastic applause.

Afterwards, together with Japanese guests, Vice-Premier Qian Qichen and other Chinese leading officials viewed a range of theatrical items performed by Chinese and Japanese artists.

The event was hosted by the National Tourism Administration. It followed a visit to Japan by a delegation of 5,000 people from China in May this year.

(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2002)

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