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Promotion of Sino-Japanese dialogue sought

Exchanges needed for countries to boost people-to-people relations, forum hears

By JIANG XUEQING in Tokyo | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-11 09:30

Panda-shaped buns are displayed during an event for panda Xiang Xiang in Tokyo on Tuesday. JIANG QIAOMEI/XINHUA

Representatives from various sectors and youth delegates from China and Japan on Wednesday jointly called for further promotion of people-to-people exchanges, strengthening dialogue, enhancing mutual trust, and promoting the healthy and stable development of Sino-Japanese relations.

At a forum in Tokyo on Wednesday, Wu Hailong, president of the China Public Diplomacy Association, said that while some issues in current China-Japan relations are unlikely to be resolved immediately, people-to-people exchanges can be initiated first.

Various fields of civil exchanges — including education, culture, tourism, local governments, businesses, media, and think tanks — can engage in extensive interaction, Wu said.

Government-level consultations and exchange mechanisms at various levels should also be gradually restored, he added.

"If exchanges between China and Japan can continue and maintain a certain level of enthusiasm, the goodwill of the two peoples may gradually rise. Only through communication can mutual understanding be achieved, and only through understanding can mutual trust be established," Wu said.

"We must prioritize the overall situation of China-Japan relations and the interests of both countries," he said.

"The media, think tanks and relevant government departments of both countries should objectively and rationally view the contradictions and differences between the two countries, timely guide the overly aggressive remarks and emotions of the two peoples, and do more things conducive to maintaining friendly bilateral relations," Wu added.

Former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda said the exchanges between Japan and China rely not only on the strength of the government but also on the strength of the private sector.

It is necessary to further promote exchanges among individuals to help drive diplomatic relations as the two are interrelated and complementary, Fukuda said. Through people-to-people diplomacy, mutual trust can be further enhanced, he added.

Last November, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in San Francisco. The two leaders reaffirmed the positioning of comprehensively advancing the strategic and mutually beneficial relations between China and Japan.

Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao said current China-Japan relations are at an important juncture of succession and innovation, facing a series of complex factors.

Hopes voiced

He said he hoped that both sides would take the important consensus reached at the meeting of the leaders of the two countries last November as guidance to further strengthen people-to-people exchanges and practical cooperation while properly handling contradictions and differences.

Exchanges between China and Japan were greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted.

The ambassador said, "We hope that both sides will further expand mutual visits and exchanges, shorten psychological distances, and enhance friendly feelings through face-to-face interactions."

According to the former ambassador of Japan to China Yuji Miyamoto, comprehensively advancing the strategic and mutually beneficial relations between China and Japan means rebuilding Sino-Japanese relations conducive to world peace and development.

This also means that dialogue, elimination of suspicion, and consolidation of trust between the two countries should be strengthened, said Miyamoto.

Former Chinese ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua said it is necessary to maintain the stable and healthy development of Sino-Japanese relations, fulfill commitments through actions, and turn the vision reaffirmed in San Francisco into reality.

"We should clarify that neither side poses a threat to the other and that both are cooperative partners, adhere to the established direction of peaceful development, and grasp the direction of Sino-Japanese relations from a strategic and long-term perspective," Cheng said.

As part of the efforts to promote people-to-people exchanges, a gathering for the Japanese fans of the giant panda Xiang Xiang, who returned to China last year, was held in Tokyo on Tuesday.

During the event, panda enthusiasts had a video call with Xiang Xiang and her keeper, witnessing her current life in China.

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