|Hu Jintao Meets with Heads of Seven Japan-China Friendship Groups|
On March 31, 2006, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with the heads of seven Japan-China friendship groups, i.e. Hashimoto Ryutaro, Komura Masahiko, Hirayama Ikuo, Tsujii Takashi, Chihaya Akira, Takeshi Noda and Hayashi Yoshiro in the Great Hall of the People. President Hu and the guests held cordial talks on strengthening China-Japan non-governmental exchanges and improving and developing China-Japan relations.
Hu first of all welcomed the heads of the seven groups to China and spoke highly of the positive efforts and outstanding contribution made by the seven groups to realizing the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations and pushing forward China-Japan good-neighborly friendship and cooperation over the years. The fact that you jointly visit China and hold dialogue and exchanges with the heads of related Chinese friendship organizations at a time when China-Japan relations are beset with difficulties demonstrates the great expectation of the two peoples on improving and developing the bilateral relations. I believe that your visit will help build up the understanding and friendship between the two peoples and improve and push forward the bilateral relations, said Hu.
Reviewing the history of China-Japan friendship and the resumption and progress of bilateral ties after World War II, Hu noted that facts show peace between China and Japan will bring benefits to both nations whereas confrontation will hurt both sides. To develop China-Japan good-neighborly friendship and cooperation is in the fundamental interest of the two peoples and makes great contribution to peace, stability and development of Asia and the world at large.
In recent years China-Japan relations have encountered difficulties, which the two peoples feel worried about and the international community pays attention to. It is not what we expect to see. Neither the Chinese side nor the Japanese people should be blamed. The root cause is that some Japanese leaders insist on praying at the Yasukuni Shrine where Class A war criminals are honored, which hurts the feeling of the Chinese people and undermines the political foundation of China-Japan relations. The Chinese government always attaches importance to the relations with Japan, takes the relations as one of the important bilateral relations in today's world and has made relentless efforts towards improving and developing the bilateral ties. I have emphasized on many occasions that the problems of China-Japan relations should be handled properly with an attitude of being highly responsible for the history, the people and the future. Being responsible for the history means respecting the historical facts, learning from history and preventing the repeat of historical tragedy; being responsible for the people refers to always taking building the friendship between and seeking tangible benefits for the two peoples as the starting point and foundation of developing China-Japan relations; being responsible for the future means adhering to peaceful coexistence and lasting friendship and jointly building the bright future of good-neighborly friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, said Hu.
Hu stressed that the stance of the Chinese government on the relations with Japan is explicit, consistent and unswerving. The Chinese government will always look at China-Japan relations from a strategic and long-term perspective and keep committed to the peaceful coexistence, lasting friendship, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development between the two nations. It will stick to the principles of the three political documents including the China-Japan Joint Statement and carry on the spirit of "taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future" to properly solve the problems and maintain the generally friendly situation between the two countries through consultations on an equal footing. It will resolutely pursue the policy guiding its relations with neighboring countries of being a good neighbor and a good partner, actively promote the bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields and build up the friendship between the two peoples. So long as the Japanese leaders explicitly express the determination of no longer paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine where Class A war criminals are worshiped, I will be willing to conduct meetings and dialogue with Japanese leaders on improving and developing China-Japan relations.
Hu also noted that China unswervingly follows the road of peaceful development. It not only tries to build a peaceful international environment for its own development but also promotes world peace through its development. We expect to work with all countries in the world including Japan to build a harmonious world with lasting peace and common prosperity. China pursues an all-round independent foreign policy of peace and has no intention to threaten or challenge any country. It hopes that all countries in the world treat each other as equals, coexist peacefully and seek common development. What China pursues is a national defense policy of a defensive nature. China's national defense development aims at strengthening its defense capacity to maintain the national sovereignty and territorial integrity. China did and does not seek hegemony, nor will it seek hegemony in the future. The opinion that "China's development poses threat" is totally ungrounded.
Hu lastly pointed out that it is impossible to build a bright future for China-Japan relations without the extensive support and active participation of the two peoples or the hard work of the friends from the friendship groups in the two countries. He expressed hope that the non-governmental friendship groups of both countries strengthen their conviction, carry on the past and forge into the future, conduct diversified exchanges, sow the seeds of friendship widely, enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, especially the youth and make new contributions to consolidating the social foundation of China-Japan friendship and developing the long-term stable good-neighborly friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
Hashimoto Ryutaro and other heads of the seven Japan-China friendship groups thanked President Hu for taking time off his busy schedule to arrange the meeting, introduced their exchange plans with China respectively and indicated that Japan-China relations are of great importance to both sides and their non-governmental friendly groups will insist on the friendship between the two countries and continue playing an active role of promoting the bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields.
State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan and heads of related government agencies including Song Jian, Li Zhaoxing, Chen Haosu, Zhou Qiang, Huang Qingyi, Sun Chunlan and Wan Jifei were present at the meeting.
The heads of the seven Japan-China friendship groups were invited by the Japan-China Friendship Association to China to attend the meeting of the heads of China-Japan non-governmental friendship organizations.