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Fukuda's visit
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Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's upcoming visit to China is more like a New Year's resolution for the bilateral relations.


Foreign ministries of both countries have announced that Fukuda will kick off his China trip on Thursday.


The two countries have given a new and important development to Sino-Japanese relations this year. Their top leaders have, once again, begun visiting each other.


While the leaders have drawn up strategies on where the bilateral relations should head, they have not forgotten the grassroots contacts, which are equally important.


The two governments have designed special exchange programs for Chinese and Japanese artists and sportsmen. This is an attempt to enable their peoples to know more about the two countries.


Since Wen Jiabao's Japan visit in April, the two countries have been committed to constructing a "strategic relationship of mutual benefit".


Thanks to all the contacts between the two countries, their strategic relations of mutual benefit have been well fleshed out and workable instead of just being political lip service.


A soft-spoken, self-effacing man in his public persona, Fukuda is seen as very reassuring.


He told a Japanese magazine, "Japan and China", that his New Year's resolution is to work with China on constructing the strategic relations of mutual benefit and making constructive contributions to peace and prosperity in Asia and the world.


In his visit to China in the closing days of this year, Fukuda should have a vision for the new year and beyond.


It is expected that the two countries will keep the momentum next year when they will observe the 30th anniversary of their Treaty of Peace and Friendship.


When China and Japan signed their joint statement 35 years ago, they built a bridge for their peoples. The Treaty of Peace and Friendship has made the nexus solid and smooth. Some 13,000 Chinese and Japanese visit each other's country every day.


People can choose friends but not neighbors. China and Japan have developed their relationship to such an extent that both have a stake in it.


From a long-term political, economic, and security prospective, they have been bound closely.


The prospect of their bilateral relations depends on the leaders of the two countries. When they skillfully turn the wheel, the relations will steer a steady course.


(China Daily December 24, 2007)

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