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President meets Japanese local officials on relations
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Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao met Saturday with Shogo Arai, governor of Nara Prefecture, and Akira Hujiwara, mayor of Nara City, to discuss relations between the two countries.

During talks with the Japanese local officials, Hu said that Nara is a renowned ancient capital of Japan with a profound cultural foundation, and the historical sites of Horyu Temple and Toshodai Temple have witnessed the long history of the China-Japan friendly exchanges, and have become important emblems of bilateral cultural exchanges.

He said that friends of various circles in Nara, upholding the friendly tradition, have warm-heartedly conducted exchanges with China and made positive contributions to promoting China-Japan relations.

Currently, China-Japan relations have maintained a good momentum for advancement, which will provide more favorable conditions for regional exchanges as well as expansion of cooperation in various fields between the two countries, said Hu.

"We should carry on and promote the spirit of Great Master Jianzhen (Ganjin Wajyo) to continuously push forward China-Japan friendship," the Chinese president said.

Jianzhen (688-763), a prominent Buddhist monk of the Tang Dynasty of China (618-907), was the chief priest invited by Japan's Emperor Shomu (701-756) to teach the Chinese Buddhist precepts to Japanese Buddhist monks at the Toshodai-ji Temple in Nara. Jianzhen lived in Japan for 10 years. He not only spread knowledge of Buddhism, but also made prominent contributions to Japanese architecture, medicine and art.

Hu also expressed the hope that Nara will seize the opportunity, make best of its advantages and make fresh contributions to China-Japan relations.

Arai and Hujiwara voiced their warm welcome to President Hu's visit.

They said that Great Master Jianzhen came to Nara more than 1,200 years ago and set up the bridge for friendly exchanges between the two peoples.

Today, President Hu came to Nara for a visit, which is sure to strongly cement Japan-China relations, they said.

Arai and Hujiwara expressed their best wishes for both countries' prosperity and permanent friendship between the two peoples.

The two local officials wished the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games a complete success.

President Hu is on a five-day state visit to Japan, the first by a Chinese president to Japan in a decade. His visit, dubbed "warm-spring" trip, is scheduled to conclude later Saturday.

(Xinhua News Agency May 10, 2008)

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