Closing Remarks by Chairman Tang Jiaxuan at the Closing Session of the First Meeting of the Fifth China-Japan Friendship Committee for the 21st Century
9 February 2010, Yangzhou
Chairman Taizo Nishimuro,
Before we conclude the first session of the fifth China-Japan Friendship Committee for the 21st Century, I wish to make some closing remarks on behalf of the Chinese members. To begin with, I wish to thank all the Committee members for actively participating in the discussions over the past two days, the people's governments of Jiangsu Province and Yangzhou City for their thoughtful arrangements and all the working staff for their hard work.
We chose to hold the closing session for the first meeting of this Committee in Yangzhou of Jiangsu Province because there is something uniquely special about this place. Jiangsu enjoys a time-honored history and an abundance of natural resources and creative minds. It is, economically and culturally, one of the most developed regions in China. Yangzhou stands out as a shining pearl on this abundant land. But there is more than that. Jiangsu has a special association with China-Japan relations deeply rooted in history. Monk Jianzhen in the Tang Dynasty, who braved all the hardships to make his eastward voyages to Japan and left an indelible imprint in the history of China-Japan cultural exchanges, was an eminent monk from Daming Temple right here in Yangzhou. We are here now to remember our forbears and encourage the coming generations; we are here now to demonstrate the strong will of members from both sides to stay firmly committed to continuously advancing China-Japan relations. Today, Jiangsu enjoys close friendly exchanges and practical cooperation with Japan. One fourth of Japan's investment in China is made here in Jiangsu. One fifth of Japan's trade with China is done with Jiangsu. There are as many as 36 pairs of sister cities between Jiangsu and Japan. I hope that through this meeting, members from both sides will forge even deeper bonds with Jiangsu and Yangzhou, leave with fond memories, and make even more contribution to friendly exchanges and cooperation between Jiangsu and Japan.
This meeting is held amid profound changes in the regional and international patterns and new opportunities for China-Japan relations. With a strong sense of responsibility and mission, members from both sides pooled their wisdom in candid, enthusiastic and in-depth discussions on how to elevate China-Japan strategic relationship of mutual benefit and push China-Japan relations forward in the new circumstances. These discussions helped strengthen mutual understanding and deepen trust and friendship. Most of the members only met for the first time, but in a matter of two days, they have become friends sharing empathy. I believe the empathy is also shared by the entire membership of this Committee. Despite his tight schedule, Premier Wen Jiabao spent 80 minutes meeting, listening to and talking with the members yesterday. It was a deep-going, interactive discussion. This shows not only the great importance the Chinese government attaches to the work of the Committee, but also the ardent hope Premier Wen Jiabao has for all the committee members.
On the whole, the Committee meeting stood high and aimed far, with discussions covering wide-ranging issues, and produced fruitful results. In summary, it had three main features.
First, it kept abreast with the times and was both practical and forward-looking. Committee members based their discussions on the present realities and explored the general direction for future cooperation from a long-term and strategic perspective. They came up with quite a number of new ideas about overarching issues and put forward many useful suggestions.
Second, it worked to find common ground while putting aside minor differences. Committee members opened their hearts and spoke their minds to let wisdom sparkle in the clash of ideas and to actively pursue common ground in constructive discussions. Japanese members were of the view that while efforts should be made to face up to the existing problems and differences in the bilateral relations, it is important to take a long-term view and broaden the horizon of China-Japan relations, keep to the general direction and continuously deepen China-Japan strategic relationship of mutual benefit.
Third, it was open and interactive. The opening and closing sessions were open to the media from the beginning to the end, and members on both sides met the press together. Committee member Shui Junyi and his production team even did a follow-up report on the meeting. Such arrangements helped all sectors of the society learn about the Committee's work fully and spread the idea of China-Japan friendship more extensively.
The results and consensus of the meeting, in my view, can be summed up as follows:
First, the two sides believed that China-Japan relations have entered a phase of new development opportunities. Both governments attach great importance to the bilateral relations and remain committed to the long-term, stable policy of friendly cooperation. This will provide important political guarantee for the continued growth of the strategic and mutually-beneficial ties. Both sides should seize the opportunity to elevate the position of China-Japan relations in their respective overall diplomatic strategies and promote the bilateral ties in a broader scope and at a higher level.
Second, the meeting concluded that China and Japan should pay attention to the world economic trend in the post-financial-crisis era and strengthen cooperation in the areas of energy, the environment, green and low-carbon economy and circular economy. The Chinese members suggested launching major cooperation initiatives and creating new highlights in the bilateral cooperation. They also came up with specific proposals: first, cooperate on clean fuel automobile and increase input in joint R&D, production and distribution; second, build together the China-Japan industrial park for circular economy in Caofeidian, Tangshan and carry out demonstration projects on cooperation in sustainable development; third, actively explore and promote cooperation in the newly emerging strategic sectors such as information and communication technologies, biomedicine and new materials.
Third, members from both sides suggested expanding cultural and people-to-people exchanges and nurturing favorable mutual sentiments through multiple channels. They advocate making full use of the Shanghai World Expo later this year as a platform to expand people-to-people exchanges. The meeting spoke highly of the bilateral government exchange programs involving media professionals and social scientists of the two countries soon to be implemented and proposed to continue the exchanges in this area. The Chinese members also expressed the hope that Japan would further simplify visa procedures for Chinese visitors and made suggestions regarding closer exchanges between young writers and a China-Japan Buddhist Festival.
Fourth, members from both sides urged China and Japan to prioritize their cooperation on Asian integration in the overall bilateral relations. It was proposed at the meeting that the two countries should increase input in regional financial cooperation and jointly build a financial security network. They should also take part in the development of the Greater Mekong Subregion and accelerate the building of Asia's infrastructure network. It was suggested that China, Japan and the ROK should speed up the industry-academia-government research on the Free Trade Area (FTA), launch official negotiations at an early date and, on the basis of FTA, promote the establishment of an integrated regional market.
The success of the first meeting indicates that the Fifth China-Japan Friendship Committee for the 21st Century has set sail smoothly. During the meeting, the most frequently used word was "empathy". As the meeting is drawing to an end, we can say, without exaggeration, that it is a meeting of great empathy and so is the sincere dialogue between members of the Committee from both sides. I believe that with our joint effort, the Fifth China-Japan Friendship Committee for the 21st Century will produce positive outcomes, fulfill the mission entrusted by the two governments and two peoples, and make important contribution to the growth of China-Japan relations in the new century.