Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for better people-to-people contacts between Japan and China as he welcomed a 3000-strong Japanese delegation to Beijing this weekend.
Xi, while addressing the Japanese delegation in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Saturday, stressed on “peaceful development” of the two Asian giants.
China-Japan trade ties had been a bright spot in a tense relationship that has been marred by anger over Japan’s approach to its wartime and colonial past, as well as friction over disputed islands. However, China’s trade with Japan plummeted by 11 per cent during the January-April period this year.
The delegation on Saturday delivered a letter from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Xi who stressed on “cherishing and protecting” the “friendship”. Abe and Xi held talks last month, the second time in the last five months, on the sidelines of a regional conference in Jakarta.
Xi, on Saturday, however, sent out a warning against falsifying history.
“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, as well as the World Anti-Fascist War. The crimes committed by Japanese militarism can not be concealed; historical truth can not be distorted. Chinese people and Asian victims who suffered, or any Japanese people who have a sense of justice and conscience will not tolerate any attempt to distort the history of Japanese militarist aggression,” he said.
The conflict, commonly known in China as the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, led to the death of some 20 million Chinese, according to Beijing’s estimates. It ended with Tokyo’s World War II defeat in 1945.
Japan has also recently announced a reinterpretation of its pacifist constitution, by ending a ban that has kept the Japanese military from fighting abroad.
“The Japanese people were also victims of the war. Both sides should learn from history and face the future to seek peaceful development, boost friendship from generation to generation, create a better future for the development of both countries, and contribute more to peace in Asia and the world,” the Chinese President added.
The Japanese delegation is led by Toshihiro Nikai, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party’s general council.
“The China-Japan Friendship communication conference is very important. We thank the Chinese government for its support and attention. It is very significant in maintaining people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges, especially for mutual understanding among young people. We are willing to work with China to boost cooperation in these areas,” Toshihiro Nikai said on Saturday.
TBP and Agencies