Relationship evaluated as treaty signing's 45th anniversary marked
Discussion among participants of the ninth round of dialogue between Chinese and Japanese businesspeople and former high-level officials has focused on global issues such as the economies of Japan and China, the establishment of an open business environment, climate change and common challenges that both countries face.
The driving force behind the continuous dialogue is the strong desire in economic circles of Japan and China that communication should not be interrupted under any circumstances, said Masakazu Tokura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, at the opening ceremony of the two-day dialogue in Tokyo on Wednesday.
"Although there are various issues between Japan and China at present, it is precisely at such times that we need to recall the profound strategic thinking and political courage of our predecessors. Through active dialogue with all sectors of society we can promote mutual understanding and usher in a new era."
The Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between the People's Republic of China and Japan was signed 45 years ago.
"As we revisit the spirit of the treaty, both sides should work together from a broader perspective to jointly strive for the building of a constructive and stable relationship between Japan and China," Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a video speech.
Over the past 45 years, economic exchanges between the two countries have laid the foundation for bilateral relations, making significant contributions to the development of both sides, Kishida said.
"During the meeting in November last year, President Xi Jinping and I agreed that concrete progress in mutually beneficial cooperation could be made in the economic field. We reached a consensus on actively promoting cooperation in areas such as green economy ...medical care and elderly care."
Through various activities commemorating the 45th anniversary of the signing of the treaty, both sides reiterated the importance of bilateral collaboration.
"The three key words — peace, friendship and cooperation — are crucial," said Yasuo Fukuda, former prime minister of Japan. "We must look toward the future and move forward around these three major themes."
The China-Japan relationship carries significant responsibilities for Asia and the world, Fukuda said.
"It is essential to build a world of cooperation and coordinated peace. We must reaffirm the importance of Japan-China cooperation."
Zeng Peiyan, former vice-premier of China, said via video link that the foundation of China-Japan friendship lies in people-to-people exchanges, and the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship is economic and trade collaboration.
For more than 40 years China-Japan economic and trade collaboration has achieved fruitful results. The value of trade between the two countries surpassed $350 billion last year, and Japan's cumulative direct investment in China has surpassed $130 billion, Zeng said.
There is still enormous potential for the two countries to work together in areas such as trade, investment, technological innovation, digital economy, healthcare, green development and addressing aging populations and declining birthrates, he said.
Regional conflicts and unrest are occurring one after another, Zeng said, and countries urgently need to overcome challenges together, jointly safeguarding world peace and development.
"At the historic intersection of the new era, the importance of Sino-Japanese relations has not changed and will not change," he said, urging both countries to adhere to the correct direction since diplomatic ties were established and broaden the path of friendly collaboration.
Bi Jingquan, executive vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said businesspeople from China and Japan taking part in the dialogue are encouraged to implement the principled consensus reached by both heads of state.
They are also urged to discuss the challenges present in economic and trade relations between the two countries, Bi said.