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Japan-China groups in Beijing to boost friendship
Latest Updated by 2006-03-31 17:00:48
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Heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations from Japan arrived in Beijing yesterday for their first joint visit to China.

"Chinese President Hu Jintao will meet with heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations on Friday (today)," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told the regular briefing yesterday afternoon.

"This visit signifies the positive attitude China takes on promoting Sino-Japanese friendly exchange and cooperation," said Qin.

During their three-day visit, Japanese guests will exchange views with people in charge of relevant organizations from the Chinese side on how to increase non-governmental exchanges and promote the growth of bilateral relations.

The seven organizations are the Japanese Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the Association of Dietmen League for Japan-China Friendship, the Japan-China Friendship Association, Japan-China Cultural Exchange Association, Japan-China Association on Economy and Trade, Japan-China Society and Japan-China Friendship Center.

The Japanese visitors include former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and former Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura.

The visitors are guests of the China-Japan Friendship Association.

Sino-Japanese ties were soured by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to a shrine honoring convicted World War II war criminals.

The heads of the two neighboring countries have not exchanged visits for over four years, ever since Koizumi began paying homage at the controversial war shrine after he took office in 2001.

Non-governmental ties, a crucial aspect of Sino-Japanese relations, are considered very important by the Chinese leadership.

"We should strengthen people-to-people exchanges and enhance mutual understanding and trust," Premier Wen Jiabao told a press conference after the National People's Congress.

In the past, China and Japan succeeded in promoting bilateral relations through non-governmental exchanges, recalled Feng Zhaokui, a researcher with the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "Now it is imperative to boost people-to-people exchanges to mend the Sino-Japanese ties beset with great difficulties."

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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