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China, Japan seek stronger people-to-people bonds amid the Premier’s visit

Updated: May 11,2018 9:15 PM     Xinhua

SAPPORO — China and Japan had reached many cooperation deals during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Japan, which created conditions for stronger cooperation between localities and enterprises, and for people-to-people links.

While addressing a China-Japan Governor Forum on May 11 in Sapporo, capital of Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, Premier Li said the two sides agreed to carry out cooperation in innovative development and launch innovative dialogue mechanism.

Hokkaido not only is an important base of Japan’s modern agriculture, but also has important high-tech industries. The two sides plan to enhance cooperation in high-tech and other industries concerning people’s livelihoods such as dealing with population ageing and improving medical treatment, Premier Li said.

Exchanges and cooperation between localities are an important part of China-Japan relations, Premier Li stressed.

The Premier also toured a high-tech exhibition at a local Toyota factory with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Hokkaido is the second leg of Premier Li’s official visit to Japan from May 8 to May 11, and the official visit is the first by a Chinese premier in eight years.

To cement people-to-people bonds is a highlight of Premier Li’s visit. In Tokyo, Premier Li met with people from various circles of the Japanese society, and attended a reception commemorating the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

New progress and continuously stable development should be made in China-Japan relationship as it returns to the normal track, Premier Li said, adding this is the best way to commemorate the signing of the treaty.

As an important milestone in bilateral ties, the treaty affirmed the principles of the bilateral joint statement that was issued in 1972 in legal form, which include Japan’s deep reflection on war responsibilities, and its firm adherence to the one-China policy.

It is based on the principles of the four cornerstone political documents, including this treaty, that the development of bilateral ties can be led back onto the right track despite twists and turns in the past, Premier Li said.

While meeting with some of the former Japanese politicians who had participated in the treaty-making process, Premier Li called on both sides to cherish the hard-won momentum of improvement in bilateral relations and carry forward the spirit of the treaty.

During the visit, China presented Japan with a pair of crested ibis to reflect Chinese people’s friendship with the Japanese.

The iconic bird is deeply rooted in the Japanese history and culture. It was on the verge of extinction in Japan in the 1980s. Since then, the two countries have worked together to protect the bird.

Premier Li and Abe jointly visited a cultural and creative exhibition of the Forbidden City in Tokyo, which showcases artworks of bronze, lacquer, porcelain and wood carving that draw inspiration from artifacts of the Forbidden City.

Premier Li asked to make cultural industry a new spotlight in bilateral cooperation, strengthen mutual understanding of the two peoples, and consolidate the public opinion basis for long-term, healthy and stable growth of bilateral ties.

On various occasions, the Premier stressed to cement people-to-people exchanges, consolidate the public foundation for bilateral ties, and increase understanding and affection between the two peoples.

He was warmly welcomed and echoed by Japanese leaders. Japanese Emperor Akihito said he always recalls the moment when he was warmly welcomed by the Chinese people in his visit to China over 20 years ago, and strongly felt the hearts of the two peoples were connected.

With efforts from both countries, their people-to-people bonds are expected to get even closer, and contribute to further improvement of the overall relations.