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Official Calls for Mutual Respect at Forum

A senior official told the first Beijing-Tokyo Forum today that mutual respect should guide Japan-China relations.

The prerequisite for resolving current issues "lies in one word - respect. Respect for oneself and the other, respect for interests and truth, respect for history and future, " said Chen Haosu, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

Jointly organized by China Daily, Peking University and Japan's Genron NPO, the forum started in Beijing today with over 60 Chinese and Japanese officials and experts attending and is to be an annual event.

Chen refuted accusations that China promotes anti-Japanese education, and said that despite 35 million Chinese being killed in WWII, some Japanese denied atrocities and said they launched the war to "liberate the Asian people," which was sure to arouse anger.

Chen said China aims to make young people aware of the historical lesson that being backward means being bullied and to inspire them to build a strong nation.

He urged the Japanese government to reflect on history and blamed the current stalemate in relations on Japanese denial of its military past.

Chen said China distinguishes war criminals from ordinary Japanese people in history lessons, pointing out that the latter were also victimized by the war.

He called on both sides to join hands in promoting ties, saying that only by doing so can they maximize their common interests.

The event's organizers conducted surveys among 3,500 college students and professionals in each country from May to August.

Half of the Chinese college students surveyed said they wanted to make friends with their Japanese peers, though 62.9 percent said they do not have a positive opinion of Japan.

59.9 percent of Japanese respondents listed relations with the US as Japan's most important foreign ties.

(China Daily August 23, 2005)

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