Japan's PM sends China best wishes

Updated: 2011-01-29 07:18

By Wang Chenyan (China Daily)

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Kan expresses hopes for more people-to-people, official exchanges

BEIJING - In a congratulation letter on Chinese New Year, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan calls for building a long-standing and stable relationship between Japan and China.

The prime minister sent his best wishes on Thursday to all Chinese people as the lunar new year approaches.

Kan appreciated the Chinese contribution to Japan's social development and expressed his hopes for more official and people-to-people exchanges to boost next year's 40th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations.

"It is very important to build up a long-standing and stable bilateral relationship between Japan and China, neighbors separated only by a narrow strip of water. Now both countries are striving to strengthen strategic relations, to their mutual benefit," Kan wrote at the invitation of Toho Times, a Chinese newspaper in Japan.

"As a political leader, Kan offered his greetings not merely out of courtesy. I think his statement is positive and certainly conducive to healthy Sino-Japanese relations," said Zhou Yongsheng, a professor of Japanese studies at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.

High-level communications between China and Japan have increased despite of the near freezing of ties after a collision in September between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japanese patrol boats in waters near China's Diaoyu Islands.

The 12th security dialogue between China and Japan just concluded in Beijing on Jan 20. Officials from both countries had far-reaching discussions and agreed China and Japan have common interests in security.

"Both Kan and Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara recently disclosed that they might visit China this year. After all, Japan's economy is still weak and its recovery relies on China. For years, trade with China has exceeded 20 percent of Japan's total foreign trade. So the need for a stable relationship with China is particularly strong in Japanese business circles," Zhou said.

"Ties between the two neighbors have been mending and will keep improving because both understand that no one will benefit if their relations deteriorate," Zhou said.

China Daily

(China Daily 01/29/2011 page7)


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